Budget 2022: Housing Minister says new rent caps to be announced shortly

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Budget 2022: Housing Minister Says New Rent Caps To Be Announced Shortly
Darragh O’Brien said he does not accept there is nothing in Budget 2022 for renters. Photo: PA Images.
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The Minister for Housing has said he does not accept there is nothing in Budget 2022 for renters.

On Tuesday, Opposition politicians said measures on housing contained in the Budget are for landlords and landowners.

While no new measures on top of the Government’s Housing for All plan were unveiled yesterday, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said changes to rent increase caps will be announced in the coming weeks.

“It is tough out there for renters, and I absolutely recognise that, and that’s why in Housing for All that we want a new deal for renters,” he said.

“I will within the next couple of weeks be bringing in further changes to caps on rent, intended to be able to deal with the recent increase in inflation, that we’ve a more permanent cap in the rent increase that’s permitted out there.”

Indefinite tenancies

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The Minister said the introduction of “tenancies of indefinite duration” was also just a number of weeks away.

“Really importantly – which most parties agree with, and... it’s taken quite a bit of work to get to this stage – is bringing forward tenancies of indefinite duration,” he said.

“That would be a very significant change here that we’re a number of weeks away, unfortunately the reality of it is when you’re bringing change to this sector, there’s a lot of complexity involved there.”

Housing measures announced as part of the Budget will see €6 billion allocated to the sector next year, representing a 15.6 per cent rise on 2021.

Some €174 million will go towards the direct delivery of 4,000 affordable homes in 2022, while the help-to-buy scheme will be retained for 2022 at current rates and reviewed next year.

A zoned land tax will also be introduced to replace the vacant sites levy, and there will be a three-year extension to pre-letting expenses relief for landlords.

Criticism

Labour spokesperson on housing, Rebecca Moynihan, said the Budget was a "missed opportunity" to tackle systemic issues in the housing market and confront the rental crisis head on.

Budget 2022
Budget 2022: Housing measures are 'for landlords a...
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Ms Moynihan said the Budget contained tax breaks for landlords "but nothing for renters", adding it was "particularly telling that there has been no change to the HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) limit despite the record rents throughout the country."

Responding to the Budget on Tuesday, national housing charity Threshold also said an increase in base HAP rates is required to ensure that low-income renters are adequately supported.

It welcomed a €5 increase in the fuel allowance announced as part of the Budget, but said the National Retrofitting Scheme must include specific measures for landlords to assist with the improvement of energy efficiency for private rented housing.

Budgetary measures were also subject to criticism from property owners, who described themselves as “disheartened” amid an “exodus of small investors” from the market.

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