Government to produce report on vacant house tax, Dáil told

‘Life goals once considered modest made impossible,’ Mary Lou McDonald says

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the introduction of the rent pressure zones meant 60 per cent of renters had rent certainty and control. Phoograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the introduction of the rent pressure zones meant 60 per cent of renters had rent certainty and control. Phoograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

 

The Department of Finance is to produce a report on the possible introduction of a vacant house tax, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

He said the Cabinet had decided at its Tuesday meeting to amend the Finance Bill to require the Department to produce the report.

Mr Varadkar said the report by the property website Daft.ie, showing an 11.2 per cent increase in rents, referred to rental property that was advertised.

“So it does not cover the rent pressure zones,’’ he added.

He said the introduction of the rent pressure zones meant 60 per cent of renters had rent certainty and control and could not have their rent increased by more than four per cent in any one year.

That had given huge relief and security to those renting, he added.

Lack of supply

Mr Varadkar said recent reports agreed the fundamental accommodation problem was a lack of supply and the fact there were not enough apartments and houses for a country with a rising population, increasing employment and changing demographics.

The Taoiseach was replying in the Dáil to Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald who said couples who once made sacrifices to save for the deposit for a home were now doing so to pay rent.

“Life goals that once were considered modest and common have all been made impossible,’’ she added.

She said relationships were cracking under the strain of the housing emergency. For many couples in their late 20s to mid-30s even the idea of starting a family now fell into the bracket of unaffordability, she added.