€500 renters’ credit will help to “capture” unregistered tenancies, says national housing charity Threshold.
As part of Budget 2023 announced earlier this week, it was revealed that tenants who aren’t in receipt of any other State housing supports will receive an annual €500 tax credit starting this year.
Renters will be able to claim their €500 credit “in year” in 2023 and in subsequent years and from early in 2023 in respect of rent paid in 2022. While it is estimated that 400,000 renters will benefit from the credit, questions have been raised as to whether the credit will only be applicable to tenancies registered with the RTB (Residential Tenancies Board).
While full detail of the tax measure needs to be ironed out in the Finance Bill, ministers have said it is expected that renters will be able to claim the credit through the Revenue Commissioner, and that there will be a requirement for it to be a registered tenancy.
Edel Conlon, southern regional manager with Threshold, said that the credit being conditioned on RTB registration could be a “positive move” that will lead to more tenancies being registered, as unregistered tenants come forward looking to claim the credit.
“The law is the law. Landlords are supposed to register tenancies with the RTB, so it is going to be a useful exercise in capturing tenancies that are not registered. There will be a role for the RTB to enforce the registration of these properties going forward,” she said.
“It’s people’s entitlement now to get the tax credit, so I would hope that people will come forward with the details [of unregistered landlords], and that there will be enough resources within the RTB to enforce the registration of these properties,” she added.
Surveys by the Magazine Road and Surrounding Areas Residents Association in recent years have indicated that as many as 60% of tenancies in the area could be unregistered.
Ms Conlon said unregistered tenancies raise concerns such as if the correct tax is being paid on rental income. However, she reminded tenants that even if their tenancy is unregistered, they can still avail of supports from the RTB such as mediation and dispute resolution.
While Ms Conlon said that the €500 renters’ credit is a “step in the right direction”, she said that the sum is too low, and that “in a situation where rents keep rising, you would question is the €500 any good at all”.
“Rents are just not affordable for people, €500 credit doesn’t go far enough,” she said, adding that Threshold would have liked to see a higher credit, or different measures introduced.