| 4.6°C Dublin

My 'affordable house' is holding me back

I bought a house in Dublin some years ago under the affordable housing scheme. I've been offered a job in Cork and want to take it up. The scheme rules seem to suggest I can't sell the property or even rent it out.

I can't afford both it and my new accommodation, and it's in huge negative equity.

What am I supposed to do?

This is an unfortunate position to find yourself in. Of course you want to take up the job offer but the Affordable Homes Scheme (AHS) does indeed constrain you from selling or renting.

However, I advise you to get in touch with your local authority who are open to hearing individual cases, ie they may allow the property to be rented out if you can demonstrate a valid reason for moving out.

The claw-back rule was an anti-profiteering measure which restricted owners who sold within 20 years by demanding they pay a percentage of the profit from the proceeds of the sale to the local authority.

Given that you're in negative equity, it really doesn't apply here as it will sell for less than the amount you paid towards its purchase.

In any event, the AHS closed in 2011 so local authorities are seeing many cases where this is a reality.

If the property was to be sold, there is a provision to reduce or eliminate the claw-back based on the new sale price and also credits can be given for any improvement works undertaken.

Contact your council without delay and get a decision. Good luck with the new job.

I received two property tax letters: one in my name to the correct address, the other in my wife's maiden name to the address the house was originally called before the rest of the estate was completed. They are for different amounts. Should I just return the correct one?

Revenue has apologised in advance for the inevitable anomalies that will occur in introducing the Local Property Tax (LPT) and this is one of them.

Yours is not the only case of this I have heard of.

Many new estates were built with roads given particular names by developers, only to have them altered afterwards as the properties went to market.

It's possible the house deposit was paid in your wife's name, hence the confusion. You obviously don't have to pay both, but it is absolutely vital that you return both forms.

The correct one should be completed with the amount you believe you owe and your preferred method of payment.

The other one also needs to be returned while you make it clear that no such house exists and therefore no tax is payable.

Failure to return the form will result in Revenue coming after you for payment or a possible penalty or fine.

Also, call the Revenue helpline to register the issue (1890 200 255) and they will give you more specific instructions.

You have until May 7 to make a paper return, or May 29 online.

Irish Independent