Property tax could penalise homeowners looking to save energy, says CIH
HOMEOWNERS in the Republic of Ireland face being penalised for trying to save energy, according to the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH).
The government has announced €35 million seed capital for the new Energy Efficiency Fund, which supports the National Energy Action Plan, but the CIH believes its aims could be hampered by the new Property Tax announced in this month’s Budget.
CIH Northern Ireland director Cecilia Keaveney said: “This capital injection for retrofitting and energy efficiency measures for houses underpins the direction of government energy policy – but the Property Tax policy penalises those who make improvements to their homes and increase their value. This is a serious anomaly. While CIH supports the aims behind the Property Tax, we are concerned about the practical implications of its implementation.
“It is vital that there is clarity of intent across government. The housing industry can help the economy grow, and at the same time improve the quality and cut the cost of running individual homes.
“The action plan’s aim of retrofitting 100,000 homes every year until 2020 is impressive, but as the new Property Tax links to the value of your home, it will have implications for how those targets are met. People will be penalised for making the very improvements that are sought by government policy.”
She added: “Currently 180,000 families are struggling to pay their mortgages, while one in four family homes are either in arrears or have had their mortgages restructured, so there are significant questions as to how this money will be drawn down and how the needs of the most vulnerable can be met.
“Driving energy efficiency and infrastructural improvement must take into account both people’s need and ability to afford such intervention. At the moment they seem to be mutually exclusive.
“Retrofitting and energy efficiency projects have the potential to save and generate many billions of euros as well as creating warmer, more economic homes throughout the country.
“The housing industry can work with the government to help unlock the barriers currently facing this scheme. CIH would welcome the opportunity to engage with government and the industry to ensure these ambitious plans are realised.”