Friday 23 March 2018

Offset your rent against rules for deposit

Finance minister Michael Noonan. Photo: Collins Photo Agency
Finance minister Michael Noonan. Photo: Collins Photo Agency
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

A 'help-to-Buy' scheme for first-time house buyers will be developed within a year under the draft deal for government.

First-time buyers who have paid rent for a number of years will be able to offset this against the deposit rules needed to buy a home, under proposals by the Government to the Central Bank.

Other measures include a promise to end the use of hotels and B&Bs for emergency accommodation by providing 500 rapid delivery homes.

And a new court is promised, specifically to deal with mortgage arrears cases.

There is a plan to expedite 35,000 new social housing units promised under the existing €3.8bn capital programme and a plan to develop an affordable 'cost rental' option for low-income families.

There will be a 15pc increase in rent supplement - previously demanded by Fianna Fáil.

The first item in the document is the appointment of a Cabinet Minister for Housing whose first major initiative within 100 days of Government formation will be an Action Plan for Housing.

The plan will draw on the recommendations of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness.

Acting finance minister Michael Noonan was quizzed by TDs at this same committee yesterday.

Mr Noonan told the housing committee he was interested in providing tax breaks that put money "in the pockets of purchasers rather than of builders" based on the tax break for home extensions.

"We are looking at the home extensions tax break scheme model. No decision has been made yet but it is under active consideration in the (coalition) talks that are taking place but also under active consideration in my department."

He also said he would not rule out an SSIA-style savings incentive scheme for first-time buyers but asked the committee to come up with a "working model to do that".

The Oireachtas will be asked to consider the merits of temporarily reducing VAT on new homes from 13.5pc to 9pc on new affordable houses and apartments to encourage supply of such homes.

Measures aimed at helping to prevent homelessness include family mediation and programmes for those leaving hospital, prison or State care.

There is also set to be a "root and branch" review of the planning system to reduce the uncertainty and length of the process.

Irish Independent

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