Home Economics: Sinead Ryan answers your property questions
We are selling our house and retiring to my home county. The estate agent made a joke about "not telling the taxman" about the home office I have (it used to be my garage and a spare room which I knocked through about 15 years ago). I'm confused - is there a tax problem? This is our principal private residence and I understood the proceeds of it would be untaxed.
Normally the proceeds on the sale of a principal private residence (PPR) qualify for full capital gains tax relief, but there are circumstances where the relief may be restricted.
Barry Flanagan of Taxback.com explains the general principles: "Relief is restricted to the period of ownership during which the dwelling-house was the only/main private residence. Where only part of the dwelling-house qualifies, the exemption could be restricted and gain apportioned. A number of factors will be important to determine this e.g the type of employment (self-employed vs employee); the duties performed (permanent premises vs intermittent use as say, a home worker) where it is likely that no restriction would apply and full relief would be available.
However, a restriction would most likely apply where income arises to a self-employed individual (e.g. a doctor or carpenter operating out of a surgery/workshop located in the house. If part of the house is used exclusively for the purposes of a trade, profession or vocation, then this area would not qualify for the exemption.
If a room is used for business and residential purposes in equal proportion, you may be able to disregard the restriction and claim the full exemption.
If you have been claiming a portion of household expenses for the purposes of Case I or II of Schedule D (e.g. claiming for 20pc of the house's electricity bill against your professional income) this may provide a guide as to the apportionment.
Finally, any restriction should also be time apportioned, so if the "change of use" from garage and spare room to home office occurred 15 years ago, then full relief should be available for the period of ownership prior to that date - i.e., when the entire property was exclusively used as a residence".
Please don't do anything without getting independent advice. Cases vary considerably.
My lovely next door neighbours have emigrated and rented out their house to someone who works in transportation. He has a huge van which he parks on the road, but due to the curve of the crescent, it is causing me problems because it's so high and is all I can see from my living room window. I've asked him to find alternative parking, but he says it's too expensive and it's a public road. I have to edge my car out very carefully to avoid it and I feel it's blocking my view of the neighbourhood and light normally coming in through my window. Do I have any redress?
I do feel for your predicament. However, I'm afraid I have no good news for you.
I asked Susan Cosgrove, solicitor with Cosgrove Gaynard for advice: "Unfortunately anyone can park on a public road subject to parking regulations/permits if and when applicable. Therefore, once the van is taxed and insured and not blocking an access route, the owner is allowed to park as he wishes," she explained.
I would add if you have an active Residents' Association, it might be worth asking them to post a note to all residents to be mindful of others' views.
THE RYAN REVIEW
After a little bit of back-pedalling, Governor Patrick Honohan saved face and the Government breathed something of a sigh of relief at the announcement of prudent, yet stern new deposit requirements.
Ten per cent up front for first time buyers up to €220,000 clearly makes it much harder immediately for Dubliners to get their foot on the property ladder and, with no phasing in of the new requirements, anyone who was 'almost there' will be sighing in frustration.
The 10pc is being waved about as a 'normal' limit but AIB and their sister lenders were pretty happy to accept applicants with just 8pc so more will be affected by the move than originally thought.
Twenty per cent over this figure is a big ask with average Dublin house prices tipping €350,000 - a €48,000 reach.
On a macro level, it all makes sense. After all, had similar rules not only been in place, but actually enforced by the same Central Bank attempting to do so now, perhaps we wouldn't be in the debt crisis to the extent we are.
However, prices will keep rising until the actual solution to the problem is finally remedied - supply.
There is movement and it's welcome, but developers need to know it's worth their while to get off the land they're sitting on and put bricks in the ground.
With credit further stymied, this certainly won't appeal at the three-bed semi market so badly needed in the greater Dublin area.