Stamp duties on certain legal transactions were introduced nearly 300 years ago to enable the illiterate to enter into legal agreements. Even after the decrease in illiteracy, these stamp duties have never been abolished.
Lease agreements are legal transactions that trigger such stamp duty in the amount of 1% of the total rent for the term of the agreement (up to a maximum of 18 years, or in case of residential lease agreements up to a maximum of three years).
As of 11 November 2017 this has changed: Residential lease agreements that are entered into as of this date will no longer trigger stamp duty. This amendment has been debated for quite a while and was finally adopted in October 2017 right before the elections for the Austrian Parliament.
However, all other lease and tenancy agreements, in particular for shops, storage facilities, parking spaces etc. will still trigger fees.