The government is to extend the “rent a room” relief to people in receipt of Social Welfare who wish to rent out a spare room in their home.
The new regulations mean that a person renting a room in their home to a person who is not an employee or an immediate family member will have up to €14,000 of rental income disregarded in the Assessment of Means to qualify for weekly Social Assistance Payments, increases for Qualified Adults, the Working Family Payment and Supplementary Allowance.
The change is to be in effect for at least two years in response to the housing crisis.
Deputy Lowry says that this will be of particular benefit to older people, who can now receive €269.23 in weekly rent for a room, equal to €14,000 per annum, without it having an impact on their Non-Contributory State pension or the spouse or adult dependent of a contributory pensioner.
Up to now the Rent-a-Room scheme allowed a taxpayer to earn up to €14,000 per year tax-free if they rented out a room in their home to private tenants, but those on a means-tested social welfare payment had that rent deducted from their payment.
While renting out a room that is part of a person’s home is not covered by Landlord and Tenant law, depending on their circumstances the tenant(s) may qualify for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) from the local Council.
The Thurles based TD says he hopes community groups, active retirement groups and not-for-profit organisations will embrace this new incentive by assisting older people in selecting a suitable tenant which may also be company for the homeowner.