Wednesday 17 December 2014

Extending home improvement tax break to business would boost office supply

Published 21/08/2014 | 02:30

Shortage of high quality office space in Dublin
Shortage of high quality office space in Dublin

THE Government should extend tax relief to commercial property owners who want to refurbish their premises, according to an industry lobby group.

The Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland (SCSI) says the lack of high quality office space in Dublin has reached the point where lawmakers have to think outside the box.

"The Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) Scheme has been very successful in providing tax relief for people who wish to upgrade their homes and in reducing the reliance on the shadow economy and improving exchequer returns," said the SCSI's Eamon Maguire.

"We would recommend that the HRI scheme is extended to non-principal private residences, including commercial property in city centres, which would improve the quality of the current stock and improve supply levels in those areas with high demand and low vacancy rates and which have the potential to create more employment," he said.

There are two buildings left in the prime areas of Dublin with more than 75,000 sq ft of space available at present and Mr Maguire went on to call for an increase in the availability of development finance to increase the supply in the market.

"The introduction of a Builders Finance Fund (BFF) and a Revolving Infrastructure Fund to support the availability of development finance would help boost supply.

"Additionally the commercial property market needs a flexible, effective and proactive community-led planning system. While the Dockland's SDZ approval will improve supply, the SDZ model should be considered for other key urban areas with economic potential," he added.

Mr Maguire was speaking after a new survey from the SCSI showed more than half of tenants in Dublin were unhappy with their options for property.

The report goes on to 
demonstrate that even though tenants are unhappy with their current premises, a third of them lack the ability to access funding from their lenders to buy or develop their own property.

The survey also showed a fifth of commercial property owners applied for a rent reduction in the past year. Of those who applied for a rent reduction, 42pc achieved a reduction of up to 10pc.

"There is evidence that landlords are taking a more flexible approach to occupiers in specific financial circumstances", said Mr Maguire.

The importance of energy efficiency was also highlighted by 90pc of respondents who said that the BER rating of a property is a key factor in their selection criteria.

ends

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