Continuing the review on what is available by way of grants, allowances and loans from the government, John Lowe the Money Doctor looks at renovation grants, home loans and mortgage allowances to help you in the quest of government supports.

Home Renovation Incentive

This incentive provides for a tax credit on the cost of repair work, renovations or improvements made to residential property. It applies to homeowners and local authority tenants as well as landlords, up to a maximum pre-VAT cost of €30,000.

The tax credit in question amounts to 13.5% of the total cost of work done and only applies to work that is done by a tax-compliant contractor. A full list of the types of work that qualifies for the credit, including extensions, conversions, septic tank replacement or repair, fitting of bathrooms, windows and kitchens, etc. can be found here:

Do I qualify?

In order to qualify for this incentive, you must:

  • Be spending a minimum of €4,405 on work undertake on any one property (before VAT 13.5% is added).
  • Be completing work between 25th October 2013 and 31st December 2018, if a homeowner.
  • Be completing work between 15th October 2014 and 31st December 2018, if a landlord.
  • Be completing work between 1st January 2017 and 31st December 2018, if a local authority tenant.

NB: If planning permission is required for any of the work being undertaken, you may be eligible for the scheme if work is completed and paid for by 31st March 2019; however, planning permission must be secured by 31st December 2018.

Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan Scheme

This newly introduced, government-backed scheme is administered by local authorities and is unique in the opportunity it affords to first-time buyers seeking to take out a mortgage. It replaces the previous Home Choice Loan and local authority mortgages. Borrowers can avail of reduced interest rates, higher loan amounts (i.e. greater than the standard 3.5 times yearly salary) and may use the Help to Buy Incentive towards the cost of their deposit, if they also qualify for that scheme. The maximum market value of each property is capped at €320,000 in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow; and at €250,000 in the rest of the country.

Three types of mortgages are available under this scheme:

  • 2% fixed-rate interest, up to 25 years
  • 25% fixed-rate interest, up to 30 years
  • 3% variable-rate interest, up to 30 years

Do I qualify?

In order to qualify for this scheme, you must:

  • Be buying or building a property that is less than 175m² in size.
  • Be a first-time buyer, aged between 18-70, with an income of less than €50,000 (if single applicant) or less than €75,000 (if joint application).
  • Have a deposit of at least 10% of the property value.
  • Be in continuous, permanent employment, and have been so employed for the preceding two years, at minimum.
  • Intend to occupy the residence as your primary home.
  • Be able to provide evidence that you were unable to secure sufficient offers of finance from two lenders.

More information on eligibility, application and interest rates can be found here:  but be quick, the funding has run out already…

Local Authority Home Improvement Loan

This loan exists in order to help owner-occupiers who need to make necessary updates or improvements to their homes but are unable to secure traditional financing. The maximum loans possible are €38,000 where there is a mortgage on the property; or €15,000 where there is no mortgage.

Do I qualify?

In order to qualify for this loan, you must:

  • Be registered on a waiting list with a local housing authority.
  • Be a local authority tenant or tenant purchaser who wishes to return your house to the local authority, due to a desire to purchase your own home.
  • Be a tenant availing of the Rental Subsidy Scheme for a minimum of one year, who wishes to return your house to the local authority and purchase your own home.

However, if the above does not apply to you, you may also qualify if:

  • You are in a single-income household where your salary in the previous income tax year amounted to €40,000 or less.
  • You are in a double-income household where the salary of the higher earner multiplied by 2.5, plus the salary of the lower earner added on to that multiplied figure, amounts to €100,000 or less. E.g. if the higher earner is on €32,000 and the lower earner is on €21,000, where €32,000 x 2.5 = €64,000 and €64,000 + €21,000 = €85,000, this couple would qualify as their joint amount is less than €100,000.

Mortgage Allowance Scheme

This scheme aids social housing tenants or tenant purchasers who are looking to buy their own home, by paying an allowance towards their private mortgage of up to €11,450 over a five-year period. This amount is paid directly to the lending organisation, starting at €3,560 in Year 1 and reducing each year to €1,270 in Year 5. The scheme also applies to those living in housing associations for more than one year, who wish to rescind their tenancy in favour of purchasing or building their own home.

Do I qualify?

In order to qualify for this scheme, you must:

  • Be borrowing a minimum of €38,092.14 on your mortgage.
  • Ensure that the amount received through the scheme in any year does not exceed the year’s mortgage payments.

NB: You are not eligible for this scheme if you are buying a home under the Shared Ownership Scheme.

How do I apply?

Your local authority will be able to supply all details, forms and information:

Affordable Purchase Scheme

In January 2018, the Affordable Purchase Scheme kicked off. This scheme allows local authorities to provide land owned by the State to developers at a reduced cost, with the aim of enabling the construction of affordable housing. Although the State will initially own a share in each property, the purchaser will be able to buy this back, interest free.

Affordable Rental Scheme

The Affordable Rental Scheme was introduced at the same time as the Affordable Housing Scheme and is now in a pilot phase. It is designed on the cost rental model, meaning that rents are kept low by minimising the profit margin allowed to landlords, while still covering maintenance and management costs.

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