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03 Oct 2022

Tax relief sought by housing charity to tackle soaring rents

Tax relief sought by housing charity to tackle soaring rents

The Government has been urged to introduce a tax relief on rents paid by private tenants in Budget 2023, to help alleviate cost-of-living pressures and soaring rents by the national housing charity, Threshold.

This is one of several measures the charity wants to see in Budget 2023 to improve the private rental sector, to alleviate the financial burden experienced by renters and to ensure they can access a home where they can live with dignity.

Threshold has previously welcomed increases in the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and the extension of notice periods for tenancy terminations. However, the charity has warned that immediate actions must be taken by the Government to protect against rising rent costs, exorbitant energy bills and the cost-of-living crisis, which are pushing many private renters further into financial distress or into homelessness.

Threshold’s Chief Executive Officer, John-Mark McCafferty has called on the Government to remember tenants in Budget 2023: “Private renters must be a priority in this year’s Budget. Renters are one of the groups hit hardest by rising inflation and are at greater risk of poverty in comparison to owner occupiers having sustained unrelenting rent increases since 2014. Private renters are now facing extreme financial uncertainty as the cost of energy, heating, transport and food has increased rapidly over the last year. Some may be forced to choose between paying for rent, heat or food this winter.”

Threshold is calling on the Government to commit to the following measures as part of Budget 2023:

Provide financial relief for private renters via tax relief
Establish a €20 million Rent Arrears Fund to support renters experiencing financial difficulty
Increase the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) base rates
Establish a Dedicated Homeless Prevention Budget, amounting to 20% of all homeless expenditure
Deliver measures to retain homes in the rental sector via relief on the Capital Gains Tax (CGT)
Provide targeted measures to improve the energy efficiency of private rental homes
Establish a Deposit Protection Scheme as committed to in Housing For All
Allocate the necessary funds to hold a Referendum on the Right to Housing in 2023

Threshold is proposing the re-introduction of tax relief for private renters to alleviate the pressure of high rents and to provide a level of protection to renters from the increased cost of living.  This is a measure that has previously been in place but was removed in 2010 following the 2008 recession. Such a scheme could be supported by the data sharing agreement between Revenue and the Residential Tenancies Board.

Threshold has also called for the introduction of a time-limited relief on the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) payable when a landlord sells a rental home with the tenants remaining in situ to the Local Authority or an Approved Housing Body. The housing charity says this is necessary as thousands of landlords continue to evict tenants so that they can sell the homes with vacant possession.

This measure would move the home from the private rental sector to the social rental sector and allow the tenant to remain in their home, creating long-term security and affordability, as well as adding to the social housing stock, according to Threshold. This measure will specifically target landlords who are exiting the market, making it more effective than a general reduction in tax on rental income.

Mr McCafferty said: “The only truly effective mechanism to increase affordability in the long-term is through reduced rents via the increased provision of affordable housing options. While the goal of 'Housing for All' is to deliver increased affordable housing options, it will take some time for this to bring about increased affordability. In the interim, landlords must be incentivised to keep tenants in situ even when selling property and tenants must be provided with relief from increasing financial pressures.”

In addition to tax relief proposals, Threshold has also recommended that Government increase the Housing Assistance Payment base rates, provide targeted measures to improve the energy efficiency of private rental homes, establish a Deposit Protection Scheme and Dedicated Homeless Prevention Budget, and allocate funds for a Referendum on the Right to Housing in 2023.

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 or support.

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