Housing Minister defends decision to exempt funds from 10% tax if leasing back to the State 4 months ago

Housing Minister defends decision to exempt funds from 10% tax if leasing back to the State

“There is a reality that about 2,500 families are due to be housed through the provision of these leases."

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien has defended the decision to exempt funds from the 10% tax if they're leasing homes back to the State for social housing.

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The 10% tax on bulk purchases of 10 or more houses was a major part of the Government's plan to stop vulture funds from buying up entire housing estates and apartment blocks ahead of first-time buyers.

However, an amendment to the plan by O’Brien due to come before the Dáil on Wednesday which has been highly criticised by opposition parties will exempt funds from the tax if they are leasing the homes back to the State for social housing.

Speaking to reporters at an event to welcome the first 25 new-build homes into the state's cost rental housing scheme on Wednesday, O'Brien defended the decision - saying that thousands of families will be able to access the social housing in the coming months.

“There is a reality that about 2,500 families are due to be housed through the provision of these leases,” he said.

“So, if anybody is telling me now that we shouldn’t make an exception for them so that those families are housed in the short-term, I would like them to put the argument to me.

“It is a small exemption that will be time-bound. That will be brought forward by [Finance] Minister Paschal Donohoe as well.”

He added that he believes that the social homes would be “jeopardised” if the amendment is not passed.

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“It is very simply to make sure we have 2,500 individuals and families over the coming months are housed through this.”