Taoiseach pledges tax package for small landlords in next budget

Sinn Féin leader accuses Government of ‘throwing renters to the wolves’

The Government will introduce a tax package for small landlords in the next budget that will take effect from this year, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

Mr Varadkar also said the rent-a-room scheme will be adjusted to ensure an owner’s social welfare entitlements are not affected.

The Taoiseach was responding during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil on Tuesday to Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, who said the Government’s decision to lift the eviction ban “throws renters to the wolves”.

Ms McDonald said a family in Co Wicklow with two children had received an eviction notice on the home they have rented for 11 years. The Dublin Central TD said they are now considering “renting storage units and living out of a car”.


The Sinn Féin leader also called on TDs to “think very very carefully about renters in their constituency and to protect them” by voting in favour of her party’s motion to extend the eviction ban on Wednesday.

Ms McDonald said the Taoiseach sounded like “somebody who has thrown in the towel and thrown renters to the wolves.

“You don’t actually believe that these things can be solved, but they can and to protect renters, we need an extension of the eviction ban, and we need Government pace and ambition. As a matter of fact, we need a new Government, that much is evidently clear,” she said.


In response, Mr Varadkar said the Government had agreed its countermotion to Sinn Féin’s motion, which included a tax package in the budget for small landlords that will take effect this year “to encourage them to stay in and enter the sector.

“This was after consultations with our parliamentary party and some of the independent groups as well,” he said.

The Fine Gael leader said they had also agreed to extend the Croí Cónaithe refurbishment grant scheme. “We’ve agreed that if somebody rents out a room in their house, it won’t affect their social welfare entitlements or their medical card entitlements and that’s open to local authority tenancies as well,” he added. “We’ve also agreed to giving local authorities authority to buy up to 1,500 homes where people are facing a notice to quit and that will be a solution for a lot of people.”

The Taoiseach said extending the eviction ban until January 2024, as proposed by Sinn Féin, would “probably just make matters worse then they are now and a situation where you might see even more landlords choosing to sell up.

“Simply kicking the can down the road is not a housing policy,” he said.

Mr Varadkar also accused Sinn Féin of seeing housing “not as a crisis to be overcome, or a problem to be solved but as a political issue to be exploited”.

Labour leader Ivana Bacik said the lifting of the eviction ban was already causing “immense distress and devastation” to families around the country who were “facing a cliff edge of eviction from April 1st”.

The Dublin Bay South TD said the Government had wasted “breathing space” afforded by the ban and could have used the time to put in place contingency measures.

“I think it is extraordinary, incomprehensible as to how you instead went ahead and decided to lift the ban from the end of next week without any plan B, without any contingencies,” she said.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times