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Open letter to the Austrian Federal Government: Claim for unhindered maintenance of boats / real estate abroad

Open Letter to the Austrian Federal Government
Longing destination Biograd: After the first winter storms, many Austrians want to start a short trip to their boats to check up on things. For Alexandra Kosmus, however, as well as for many other boat owners, such a "working vacation" is likely to entail too much effort.

Anyone heading to Croatia at the moment really has to have a good reason for doing so, because with temperatures sometimes around freezing point, snow-covered roads in the hinterland, closed restaurants and at times quite annoying border controls, hardly anyone would think of spending a fun, sociable vacation there. But precisely because in the winter months in the Adriatic Jugo and Bora virtually give the handle in the hand, many boat and yacht owners as well as property owners worry about the condition of their objects. Only – evenly times after the right look, as in the past years usual, is not possible. With the homeward journey to Austria or Germany quarantine threatens. The short “working vacation” over the weekend quickly turns into a longer absence from the workplace.

Inspecting boat in Biograd after storm

So it happened to SeaHelp member Alexandra Kosmus from Graz, who gave vent to her anger about the quarantine regulations when re-entering Austria in the form of an open letter to Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler and Federal Ministers Rudolf Anschober and Karl Nehammer. Alexandra Kosmus to the SeaHelp editorship: “We would like to look with our boat in Biograd times whether everything is in order. The storms have raged in the region, there can always be damage. Near our boat is even said to have struck lightning.”

Owner must be on site

Indeed, while marina staff are always checking on the vessels entrusted to them, the primary concern is whether they are properly moored and no damage can be detected from the jetty. However, the devil is usually in the details. A zipper on the tarpaulin torn by the wind, which allows water to penetrate or other small damages can develop extremely negatively after a longer standing time. There it is already important that the one or other owner times a view of its ship to throw.

There are no party-mad vacationers on the road

And then there is also the cohesion among the owners. Who discovers damage to the ships of acquaintances, creates there also relatively quickly remedy, but only if he has previously also obtained permission to do so. And then, of course, it is more than annoying when quarantine threatens upon return. Alexandra Kosmus: “A property or boat owner does not go there to celebrate or to seek contacts with people from outside the household, but to maintain his property and preserve its value.”

Concerns of boat and property owners described

Here is the open letter in its entirety, which aptly, but not polemically, describes the concerns and hardships of many property and boat owners from our perspective, and puts a finger in the wound of the ordinance, which, despite undisputedly sensible measures, ultimately allows no exceptions and neglects legitimate interests.


Open Letter to the Austrian Federal Government:

Travel restrictions cause economic damage to property located abroad.

Dear Mr. Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
Dear Mr. Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler!

Dear Federal Minister Rudolf Anschober!
Dear Federal Minister Karl Nehammer!
Dear members of the Federal Government!

I am well aware of the need for measures to contain the spread of the SARS-Cov2 virus, and to the best of my knowledge and belief I am trying to comply exactly with all orders and recommendations.

I also largely understand the restriction of travel for tourist purposes. But what I see as a completely excessive measure is the fact that even trips for the purpose of maintenance and preservation to properties or boats located abroad, which are owned by people permanently residing in Austria, are restricted to the same extent as a trip that merely serves pleasure or a personal need. This borders on expropriation and also has great economic disadvantages for many: namely, if this deprives them of the possibility to maintain and care for the apartment/house/boat to the necessary extent, and thus causes material damage. In addition, it is a disadvantage compared to those whose secondary residence is located on Austrian territory: here, despite the lockdown, full freedom of travel is granted, with the for me incomprehensible argument of “covering the housing needs” – that should also be possible at the main residence. In this case, however, the people concerned were given the opportunity to take care of their property accordingly, and presumably that was the real reason for the exception from the exit restriction: the possibility of averting economic damage. Here, however, double standards were applied, and those who have this property within the state borders were clearly favored.

It is with owners of second homes – whether in Austria or in the near abroad – yes not only wealthy, but in significantly higher numbers around people who have laboriously earned this property and also maintain it themselves and have no staff on the ground already for cost reasons, which perceives this task. A property or boat owner does not go there to celebrate or to look for contacts to household strangers, but to maintain his property and to preserve in the value.

I therefore urge you to let this circumstance flow into your considerations regarding exemptions from the mandatory quarantine and here, with appropriate proof, also to formulate an exception for entry into Austria (analogous to the exception for business travelers, for example). This would give this group of people, to which I also belong, the opportunity to preserve the value of their belongings without having to apply to their employer for leave for a possible quarantine afterwards. This would also mean equality for all owners of secondary residences permanently residing in Austria, regardless of whether this secondary residence is located inside or outside Austria.

Friendly regards
Alexandra Kosmus


Many Austrian boat and property owners affected

It is to be hoped that this open letter will fall on fertile ground in parts of the government. The proportion of Austrians affected by these measures seems to be larger than the government would like to admit. One question has not yet been clarified: Are such regulations, as they have been adopted here for the aforementioned groups of people, at all in conformity with EU law?

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