Renters face 'catastrophic winter' as increases set to surpass credit

Renters face 'catastrophic winter' as increases set to surpass credit

Threshold’s policy officer Ann-Marie O’Reilly said that the €500 tax credit 'is simply not enough'.

Renters face a "catastrophic winter" despite the inclusion of a €500 tax credit in the budget.

Under the plans announced on Tuesday, any private renter who is not in receipt of another Government support will be eligible to claim a €500 tax credit.

Only one credit may be claimed per person per year, however, it is proposed that the value of the credit will be doubled in the case of married couples and civil partners.

It is also proposed that the credit may be claimed “in year” in the years 2023 to 2025 and that, in addition, it may be claimed for 2022 early in 2023.

While it is envisaged that the measure will cost €200m a year, housing charity Threshold said that it will not cover the rent increases permitted under the Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) rules.

Threshold’s policy officer Ann-Marie O’Reilly said that a "disheartening" lack of action could see renters under further pressure.

“While a tax credit will provide some level of relief, €500 is simply not enough," she said. 

"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.

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."

Speaking at a press conference after the budget announcement, Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien said that he was awaiting a review of social housing income thresholds. It comes amid fears that some people may lose their eligibility because tax changes in the budget leave them with a higher net income, but above the current limits.

“I’ve made some changes already to five counties, where we’ve made an increase within those counties, and that has been well received," said Mr O'Brien.

“But I’m awaiting a finalised piece of work from the Housing Agency so that we can bring forward some changes with regard to the social housing limits.

“I myself and Peter [Burke] and Malcolm [Noonan] intend to do that, obviously subject to Government approval.”

He said there will be "transitionary measures" put in place, but there has been no agreement on the level of increase for those qualifying for social housing.

Pushed to guarantee that those who find themselves above the thresholds would not now lose their place on the social housing list, Mr O'Brien said that he "would not like to speculate" on where the review will end up.

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From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

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