herald

Sunday 8 December 2019

'Tax credits would have cut rent bills for tenants'

Elaine Brett hoped to see changes in public transport fares and tax breaks for those renting. Photo: Arthur Carron
Elaine Brett hoped to see changes in public transport fares and tax breaks for those renting. Photo: Arthur Carron

Tax credits for renters would have taken pressure off tenants and given them a chance to save for a deposit, according to a Dublin renter.

Elaine Brett (29) is originally from Tallaght but lives in Drumcondra and works for Children's Health Ireland in Crumlin as a radiographer.

She was pleased to see the Budget took into account renters who want to buy a home, as she lives in a house with three other people and is hoping to buy a property soon. Elaine said finding a place to live in Dublin was a big challenge.

"It's really hard to find an affordable place," she told the Herald. "I emailed at least 20 adverts before I got a viewing for where I live now. I want to move closer to work but I'm scared it'll be too expensive.

"Where I live now, the rent is very reasonable and I like the people I live with."

Elaine hopes to invest in a home of her own soon.

Married

"I'm hoping to be able to buy a place but when I went to the bank, they said that I can only either get married or get money from the bank of mum and dad," she said.

"But that's just not good enough, so I'm happy that the Help To Buy scheme has been extended for two years."

As a young professional, Elaine said she was disappointed there will be no tax credits for renters to help alleviate spiralling rents.

"There's no rent tax credit and no income tax change," she added.

"So for people like me, who work hard and pay our bills and high rents, there's no change in take-home pay."

The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) will receive extra funding.

"I've used the RTB myself every time I rent a place and when looking at prices," she said. Elaine commutes to work every day from Drumcondra to Crumlin, which takes her hours at peak times.

She hoped for reductions in Leap card caps and a lowering of public transport fares.

"They're all about the carbon tax and being more environmentally sustainable and for pushing public transport, but there's no incentive for the public to use public transport.

"I don't drive so I also pay for public transport," she said. "There are tax saver Leap cards, but they should be cheaper too.

"It's an essential service and you can't go without it."

Elaine said the development of public transport in rural areas may allow her to move back to her parents' house in Kildare and save for a deposit.

Deposit

"If they really built up public transport, I might get the chance to move back home and save for a deposit," she said.

"Especially with the Help To Buy scheme, it might mean that I would be able to buy a home, but I don't know if the two-year extension would be enough."

Elaine added that she was happy to see a €10 reduction for patients buying vital medicines under the Drugs Payment Scheme.

"I have an illness and I pay €120 every month for medicines, which I have no choice but to pay," she said.

"So every tenner goes a long way and any help takes some of the pressure off."

Elaine said she was happy with some aspects of the Budget, but many improvements could have been made.

"There's some good ideas and initiatives, but for the hard worker who commutes to work every morning, there's not too much there," she said.

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