The national housing charity Threshold has stated that tax reliefs for tenants announced in today’s Budget are “disheartening” and that the measures set to alleviate pressures presents a bleak reality for many households this winter.
Tax relief in the form of a €500 tax credit this year and next year was among the measures announced for tenants in today’s Budget, alongside the introduction of a Vacant Property Tax and the extension of the Help to Buy Scheme to 2024. However, Threshold has stated that the €500 tax credit will only amount to 2.06% of the yearly average rent in Dublin and just 2.89% of the yearly average rent nationally.
“While a tax credit will provide some level of relief, €500 is simply not enough. As this tax credit will not apply to households already availing of housing supports, an increase in the HAP basic rates is not only needed but must be kept under yearly review to ensure a proportion of rental properties are available for those reliant on HAP. For too long tenants have been struggling to keep up with extortionate rental prices, particularly with added pressures in recent months from rising inflation and the cost-of-living. Tenants across Ireland deserve supports that are substantial and meaningful, but this year’s Budget has failed to deliver adequate measures. We are deeply disheartened by the measures announced for tenants today,” Threshold’s Policy Officer Ann-Marie O’Reilly stated.
A tax credit for tenants was a measure that has previously been in place but was removed in 2010.
“Threshold is deeply concerned for the future of those who are relying on the rental sector to meet their housing need, particularly those who are reliant on it to meet their long-term housing need.
“The rental sector in Ireland is a gateway into homelessness and the tax credit announced for tenants is unlikely to stem the tide of challenges private renters are facing on a daily basis. The Government’s lack of action to help tenants will clearly result in a requirement for more radical measures to be put in place. An acceleration of the Housing For All strategy to ensure the delivery of secure, affordable units of housing to those who desperately need them will be critical in alleviating the current crisis and should be done without delay,” Ms O’Reilly commented.
With increasing number of small landlords exiting the rental market creating a diminishing supply, Threshold has called on the Government to encourage the transfer of private-rented accommodation to the social rental sector with tenants in situ through a relief on Capital Gains Tax (CGT ) payable when a landlord sells a rental home with the tenants in situ to the Local Authority.
In addition, Threshold has appealed for the Government to commit to reducing homelessness through the development of a Dedicated Homeless Prevention Budget and has repeated calls to establish a €20 million Rent Arrears Fund to protect tenancies, supporting landlords and renters alike.
Threshold’s helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9am- 9pm at 1800 454 454, with webchat at www.threshold.ie/advice/help for any renter in need of advice.