Rental tax credit 'still a drop in the ocean for renters' says Labour leader

Rental tax credit 'still a drop in the ocean for renters' says Labour leader

Labour Leader Ivana Bacik speaking during the annual Labour Party think-in, in Whites Hotel, Wexford Town. Photograph: Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland

LABOUR leader Ivana Bacik has said the €500 rental tax credit announced in Budget 2023, while a welcome first step, is “still a drop in the ocean for renters”.

Ms Bacik made the comments while speaking to The Echo during a visit to Cork this week.

As part of Budget 2023, it was revealed that tenants who aren’t in receipt of any other State housing supports will receive an annual €500 tax credit.

Speaking in relation to the announcement, Ms Bacik said she welcomed any initiative aimed at assisting renters but that the measure falls short of what is needed.

“Any measure to alleviate financial hardship for renters is very welcome and I’m in a constituency in Dublin Bay South where we have more than twice the national average number of households in private rental accommodation. The average rent in my constituency is €2,000 per month though. So a €500 tax credit is, as Threshold pointed out, just a weeks’ rent for a Dublin renter.

“It’s still a drop in the ocean for renters. A far more meaningful measure for Government to have introduced would have been to do what we had called for which was a three-year rent freeze and a ban on evictions through this winter,” she said.

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 Commissioners, and that there will be a requirement for the property to be registered with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB). 

Speaking to The Echo last week 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,” 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.

Ms Bacik said she would welcome “any measure that would incentivise landlords registering with the RTB”.

“But landlords have a legal obligation to register so we shouldn’t need those sort of incentives, this should be a given that they are registered in this way, she added.

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