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Minister O'Brien (second from left) at the launch of approved housing body Respond's annual report today in Dublin.
Housing Crisis

Housing Minister says he wants to see renters' tax credit increased in Budget

The tax credit was introduced in last year’s Budget and is set to remain in place until 2025.

HOUSING MINISTER DARRAGH O’Brien has said he wants the renters’ tax credit to be increased in October’s Budget. 

Speaking to reporters in Dublin this afternoon, the Minister said he would not give a figure for how much he wants to see it increased by as this will be ironed out in Budget discussions with the Minister for Finance Michael McGrath.

He said however that to date the tax credit has been claimed by around 230,000 renters and that he wants to see it increased as “a lot of renters out there are paying above and beyond what many can afford.”

Introduced in last year’s Budget, the rent tax credit is available for the years 2022 to 2025.

Renters can claim up to €500 if they are an individual and couples who are jointly assessed for tax can claim €1,000. 

Tenants who are renting from their parent, their child, a local authority or an approved housing body or housing association cannot avail of the tax credit. 

Minister O’Brien added: “We need to see more supply in the rental sector. And we need to be able to help renters buy their homes.

“Most independent studies that I’ve seen when you ask renters about the tenure they would prefer is to own their own home and that’s where the First Homes Scheme is really helping in that space in assisting people who up to now couldn’t buy their own home.”

The First Homes Scheme provides an equity stake of up to 30% towards the cost of purchasing a new home or 20% if being combined with the Help to Buy scheme.

Yesterday, Fine Gael housing spokesperson, Senator John Cummins called on the Minister and the Department of Housing to speed up the inclusion of self-build properties in the First Homes Scheme.

In October 2022, Minister O’Brien committed to extending the First Homes Scheme to included self-builds by the end of that year.

Senator Cummins said: “Unfortunately, that timeline has passed, but I am aware that there are complexities involved. However, notwithstanding the logistics, time is of the essence now in getting this change implemented.”

Senator Cummins said having the dual support of Help to Buy and the First Homes Scheme would be “significant” for those building their first home.

To date the Help to Buy Scheme has been used by 41,794 individuals and families. Of these, 10,610 (25%) were for self builds.

Cummins said that because of inflation many people building their own homes now face a shortfall between their mortgage approval figure and the revised costs of their project.

“The First Home Scheme can fill that void and give a lifeline of support to kickstart projects that already have planning permission in place. We need self builds included in the scheme as a matter of urgency,” he said.

Delivering new large mixed tenure housing in Dublin and Cork

Minister O’Brien was speaking today at the launch of Approved Housing Body Respond’s annual report for 2022. 

The housing body confirmed it has 4,100 new social and cost rental homes ready for construction with contracts in place to deliver new large mixed tenure housing developments in Dublin and Cork.

It said that with Government support, the organisation could deliver 700 of these new homes this year and a further 900 by the end of 2024. 

Respond is Ireland’s largest construction-led Approved Housing Body and service provider, providing services including homeless supports and refugee resettlement services. 

Its home building programme currently has 1,396 social and cost rental homes in construction across the country.

In 2022 it delivered 484 new homes and now manages 7,084 properties for 16,541 tenants.

Respond uses a 50:50 approach to housing split between the delivery of social housing and cost rental homes. 

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