Dormitory Representation

Heimvertretung in a Nutshell


  • How to make your dormitory a better place. 
  • What a Heimvertretung is.
  • How to get started if you want to get active.

More than just a place to sleep.

Living in a dormitory means being part of a community. You stick together during exam season, hang out in your free time, and have fun partying as a group. A good dorm isn’t just a place to sleep and eat. It should have the necessary infrastructure for residents to study, to relax, and to have fun with their friends. Ideally, the whole package comes at a fair and affordable price. 

If you want to live in a place that furthermore offers

  • A welcoming and friendly atmosphere to spend your spare time in
  • A lot of different services (e.g. a small library, a garden, community rooms to watch movies, a gym, etc.) 
  • An opportunity to shape the house and community you’re living in


Then it is time for you to become a part of the Heimselbstverwaltung (dormitory-self-governance), more commonly called the Heimvertretung (dormitory representation)! 

Heimvertretung? What's that?

The Heimvertretung is a democratically elected body of students in your dorm that takes on the responsibility of improving the dormitory experience. They are represented by the Heimvertreter_in (dormitory representative). As representatives of the dormitory’s self-governance, their role is to represent the interests of the residents. Heimvertreter_innen have a say in various matters, including dormitory rules, the determination of residence fees, and insight into the calculation of usage fees. Being a Heimvertreter_in comes with numerous benefits:

  • Involvement in crucial decisions
  • Accumulation of valuable experiences
  • Networking with interesting individuals
  • Additional tolerance semester (for university and student aid)
  • Earned ECTS credits for elective courses
  • Extension of the entitlement to residence by one semester

Your dorm, your rules.

As Heimvertreter_in it is your responsibility to:

  • Be the spokesperson for all residents
  • Enforce the Heimvertretungsordnung 
  • Organise the social and cultural life in the dorm
  • Settle disputes between residents
  • Fight for the rights of your fellow residents
  • Motivate the other residents to participate in the Heimvertretung
  • Stay in touch with the Heimbetreiber_in and exercise your rights as Heimvertreter_in of accessing the accounts to make sure the housing fee is fair
  • Reach out to your fellow Heimvertreter_innen and to the Bundes-ÖH (Austrian Student’s Union)

The Stellvertreter_in (deputy) of the Heimvertreter_in supports the Heimvertreter_in in fulfilling their duties and takes on their role if they are unable to do so. 

The Treasurer has the crucial tasks of managing the finances of dormitory self-governance and ensuring no funds are embezzled.

Getting Started

Before you begin, find out if there is already an active Heimvertretung in place in your dormitory. Perhaps you received a flyer when moving in, or maybe they hosted a welcome evening. If yes, contact them! They will show you the ropes of how things are done in your dormitory.. If not, it is up to you! But don’t worry – it’s the start of an interesting and rewarding journey!

So you want to start a Heimvertretung?

You’ve decided that you want to pick up the reins, improve your dormitory and make it a nice place to live for all its residents? Then you are in the right place. This leaflet shall guide you in becoming an active part of your dorm community and organising an official representation. Participate! 

Where to begin?

Austrian law (in the so-called Studierendenheimgesetz) demands the installation of a Heimvertretung in every dormitory. Read the relevant sections of the Studierendenheimgesetz (Austrian Student Dormitory Act) regarding Heimvertretungen (§7 and §8). If you don’t speak German, we also provide an English translation. 

The next step is to draft and agree upon a Heimvertretungsordnung (dormitory-self-governance bylaws). This document has to contain: 

  • The defined roles of your Heimvertretung. At the least there must be a Heimvertreter_in, a deputy Heimvertreter_in and a Treasurer – but you can even define the roles of e.g. a board-game- or a party department.
  • The rules of how residents can actually take on those roles. That includes the election format (open/secret) and the needed quorum and majorities, as well as the frameworks for announcing elections in time and recording all those decisions. 

If you need help on what a Heimvertretungsordnung should look like, have a look at this German example document, or contact us and we can help you make one. The Heimvertretungsordnung is binding for all people living in the dorm – therefore the rules have to be voted on. To do this, you must gather your fellow dormitories and announce a Heimvollversammlung (full-dormitory-meeting). 

The first Heimvollversammlung.

As soon as you (and maybe other interested people) have drafted a Heimvertretungsordnung, schedule a Heimvollversammlung. Put up signs or posters, spread some flyers and ask your Heimbetreiber_in (dormitory-operator) to communicate the date to all residents. Consider organising some snacks and drinks to make this an even more appealing event. You want the Heimvollversammlung to be attended by as many people as possible. The more residents learn about the importance of actively participating, the better – and the more people that vote on your Heimvertretungsordnung, the more legitimacy you and your Heimvertretung will enjoy. 

When the day of the Heimvollversammlung finally comes along, explain to the present residents the importance of getting organised and creating a dormitory representation. Then present your Heimvertretungsordnung and then conduct a vote to accept it. After that, everyone can run for the defined offices. Let democracy decide who will represent the residents. Enjoy being together, be creative, set goals, have fun!

Get to work.

So, now that you have been elected as a member of the Heimvertretung, what can you do for your dorm? 

  • First, you want to meet with your Heimbetreiber_in to decide which tasks you might take care of. Your goal always is to make things better for the inhabitants of the dorm! For instance, you could offer to administer the internet to make it cheaper; manage the allocation of single rooms to make things more fair; or you could take care of otherwise locked and forgotten community rooms. 
  • Demand that your Heimbetreiber_in supports your endeavour of creating a Heimvertretung. Perhaps there is a spare room you can use as an office – they might even be willing to grant you a small budget. 
  • Exercise your right to access the accounts of the Heimbetreiber_in to make sure the housing fee is fair.
  • Meet with your fellow dorm residents, fight for their best interests and organise events to strengthen the community.
  • We also offer financial support for a community project from our Dormitory Fund. Read all about it here.

You are not alone.

Helping to shape a Heimvertretung is more than just agreeing on rules and doing the work. Surround  yourself with people who also want to make your dorm feel like home. Offer regular meetings and organise one or the other informal get-together. Help and be helped. And never forget to have a good time! 

Being a Heimvertreter_in is not a day-job, it’s work on a volunteer basis. Like every other job it can sometimes feel like a chore. Remember to take a break, if you need to – but don’t be discouraged. The rewarding feeling of doing something for the community will totally make up for it – and the more people that join in, the more you can accomplish! 

If you need help and advice, there are other Heimvertreter_innen out there that you can reach out to and there might also be the Heimsprecher_in, the representative of all dorm units of a single Heimbetreiber_in. Check below to find your local Heimvertretung Community. Use these contacts to share your experiences and questions and to coordinate your work for your fellow residents. We also offers workshops and information. Keep your eyes open for announcements regarding an upcoming networking and exchange opportunity. 

There is even more.

As you might have guessed, there is a lot more information you can get about installing and maintaining a Heimvertretung – too much to put it all in this brochure. If you want or need more information, please contact us at:

Until then, good luck! And above all: have fun!

Local Heimvertretung Communities

At the moment we only have information on networking groups in Tyrol. If you would like to advertise your networking group here, write to us at

Unfortunately we have no information on this yet – we are working on it!

Unfortunately we have no information on this yet – we are working on it!

Unfortunately we have no information on this yet – we are working on it!

Unfortunately we have no information on this yet – we are working on it!

Unfortunately we have no information on this yet – we are working on it!

In Tyrol, there is a Heimvertretung community on WhatsApp organized by the ÖH Uni Innsbruck. Take a look at the networking group!

Unfortunately we have no information on this yet – we are working on it!

Unfortunately we have no information on this yet – we are working on it!