By Cate McCurry, PA
The Minister for Housing said his department is reviewing the income limits applied to the eligibility for social housing.
Darragh O’Brien said the review will be completed by the end of the year.
It comes as People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said that those in line for an increase in their take-home pay as part of the budget could be knocked off the social housing list.
Mr Boyd Barrett said it could potentially affect thousands of people as the increase will push them over the threshold for social housing.
Speaking after the budget announcement on Tuesday, Mr O’Brien said: “In relation to social housing limits, I have said that we are concluding a review into the income limits with regard to social housing, and I expect that to be concluded by the end of this year.
“I’ve made some changes already to five counties, where we’ve made an increase within those counties and that has been well received.
“But I’m awaiting a finalised piece of work from the Housing Agency so that we can bring forward some changes with regard to the social housing limits.
“I myself and Peter [Burke] and Malcolm [Noonan] intend to do that, obviously subject to government approval.”
He said there will be a transitionary measures put in place but there has been no agreement on the level of increase for those qualifying for social housing.
“I don’t want to speculate in that space, but on social housing, this year we will deliver more new social housing builds than we’ve done in any given year in the history of the state,” Mr O’Brien added.
“So we’re making progress in that space.
“I’ve also told local authorities, and it’s provided for in this budget, to assist people who’ve received notices to quit who are HAP tenants or RAS tenants.”
Renters tax credit
As part of the budget, renters will be in line for €500 tax credit.
Mr O’Brien said that workings of the credit and how renters can apply will be made clear in the Finance Bill.
“This will be a credit that someone will claim and I would expect that they will be claiming this credit directly from Revenue and they’ll do that online,” the Fianna Fail minister added.
“I would also expect, and this needs to be confirmed, that would be on the basis of a registered tenancy and they will claim it on the basis of the registered tenancy number that they have and it should be pretty simple to be able to do so.
“But we need to get the legislation that underpins the change that we’ve outlined here today and that will be done in the Finance Bill.
“From the passing of the Bill, then shortly thereafter, people will be able to claim a credit for 2022.
“Realistically you’re probably looking at that payment be made in early 2023. But you would apply for it through the Revenue system.”
He also defended the decision not to include those in receipt of HAP or RAS in the rent tax credit.
“The purpose of the rent tax credit is that it’s a tax tax credit for those unsupported tenancies and the HPA and RAS tendencies are very significantly supported with the majority of the rent already being paid by the State in those tenancies,” Mr O’Brien added.