Subscriber OnlyBudget 2024

Renters, homeowners, landlords: Who did best out of Budget 2024?

Government focused its budgetary firepower on housing but reaction suggests it may not have done enough to keep any group happy


With housing still the single biggest issue among voters, this month’s budget sought to ease the burden for renters, homeowners and landlords alike. But who did best?

Pearse Doherty, Sinn Féin spokesman on finance, was clear that the budget favoured those renting out properties.

“You simply couldn’t make this up. In this budget, this Government has provided nearly twice as much to landlords as it has to struggling renters,” he said after the Ministers had outlined this year’s budgetary measures.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meanwhile, argued that incentives for landlords were ultimately incentives for tenants, as the goal of the new tax relief is to encourage landlords to “stay in [the market] for the next couple of years’ and that will help with supply and also helps keep rents down”.


One thing for certain? No one is particularly happy with the package of budget day housing measures which will provide a weekly benefit ranging from €12.50 to €24 next year.


Who will benefit? Smaller landlords (not investment funds or reits) who pay tax at the higher rate and who commit to staying in the rental market until 2027 at least.

Total cost to the exchequer in 2024: €160 million

Maximum weekly benefit 2024: €12.50 (rising to almost €20 in 2026 and 2027)

If only because the changes broke new ground, let’s start with landlords. While they were hoping for numerous changes in the budget, including allowing local property tax be offset against a tax bill, and introducing some sort of capital gains tax relief, the Government instead sought to incentivise the sector by cutting tax on rental income.

Under the new rented residential relief, landlords will be able to set aside a fixed amount — €3,000 in 2024, rising to €4,000 in 2025 and €5,000 in 2026/2027 — which will be liable for tax at the standard rate of tax rather than at the higher 40 per cent rate, although the universal social charge and PRSI will still apply.

The move means that, for 2024 (which won’t be accounted for until November 2025 when landlords’ tax returns are filed for 2024), landlords will see their tax bill fall by €600. This will increase to €800 in 2025, and to €1,000 in 2026 and 2027, so overall, landlords will save €3,400 on tax over the next four years.

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The relief is expected to cost the Exchequer €160 million on a full-year basis for 2024 (increasing the rent credit to €750 from €500 will cost €88 million for comparison).

The amount of offer has been criticised as not being sufficient to deter landlords from selling; Pat Davitt, chief executive of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers, said: “It’s unlikely to be significant in stemming the flow of private landlords from the market.”

Another issue is around a potential clawback of the relief. As Minister for Finance Michael McGrath said when announcing the relief, “an important condition of this measure is that the properties held by the landlord availing of the relief must remain in the rental market for four years; otherwise the full amount of the relief will be clawed back”.

Mary Conway, chairwoman of the Irish Property Owners’ Association, says that if landlords have to agree to four-year tenancies up front, “the possibility of being trapped in the rental market at a real risk of investment depreciation may discourage take-up of the scheme”.


Who will benefit? Those with an outstanding mortgage of between €80,000-€500,000, who are paying more in interest this year than they did in 2022. No mortgage, no benefit.

Total cost 2024: €125 million

Maximum weekly benefit 2024: €24

With a sharp rise in interest rates over the past year, beleaguered homeowners were hoping for some relief in Budget 2024 in the form of the reintroduction of mortgage interest relief.

The relief, which was abolished for new applications in 2012, but only finally phased out at the end of 2020, reduces the burden of mortgage interest on homeowners by allowing them to offset a percentage of interest costs against their tax bill.

In the past, the amount of interest eligible for relief was capped, although these caps tended to be generous. For example, in 2018 married first-time buyers had a threshold of €15,000. But this made the scheme expensive for the State to operate; at its height, in 2005, some 587,800 homeowners benefited from it at a cost to the exchequer of €279 million.

The new scheme is available on a limited, one-year basis, and the relief is aimed at those who have seen their mortgage repayments jump sharply from 2022 to 2023. Your mortgage balance must also have stood between €80,000 and €500,000 at the end of 2022 to qualify.

The maximum relief available is capped at €6,250 per home, which works out at a maximum tax credit of €1,250 for the year, based on the standard rate of tax at 20 per cent.

So a homeowner with a €300,000 mortgage at an annual interest rate of 1.5 per cent, had a bill of about €4,400 for 2022. If the rate on this mortgage jumped to 3.5 per cent this year, the interest bill would shoot up to about €10,650, a differential of €6,250 in interest between the two years. All of this will be eligible for the relief, which means the homeowner would get the maximum amount, of €1,250 a year. If the differential had only been €3,000, the homeowner would get €600 for the year.

The interest rate differential means the relief is largely confined to those on trackers or other variable rate mortgages, who will have seen a sharp rise in the cost of servicing their mortgages, or customers on fixed rates, whose term may have ended during 2023, forcing them to lock into a new term at a higher rate.

The scheme has been criticised as mainly targeting homeowners, especially those who benefited from record-low mortgage rates for many years – and who subsequently had the option of fixing when rates started to rise.

However, it may also help those mortgage holders whose loan is owned by servicing companies, and who are restricted from either switching, or locking into a fixed rate, due to the fact that their mortgages have likely been impaired at some point.

If you want to figure out whether you could benefit or not, you can ask your bank for a statement of interest paid in 2022 — they should have sent you one early this year anyway — and contrast this with monthly repayments for 2023 (your bank may not have such a statement ready for 2023 yet). If you switched to a new higher fixed rate in 2023, you may also benefit.

Further details on claiming the relief are expected.


Who will benefit: Anyone renting, or parents paying for digs/student accommodation for their children. If you haven’t paid enough tax, you won’t be able to claim the relief.

Total cost 2024: €288 million (including €88 million for €250 increase)

Maximum weekly benefit in 2024: €4.80, or €14.42 including existing relief

It remains a puzzle. Despite rents standing at record levels, the numbers claiming rent relief have never reached close to the numbers eligible for it.

Latest figures suggest that just 290,000, or fewer than three-quarters of the 400,000 or so people who are eligible for the credit, have claimed it thus far.

Will the increase announced in Budget 2024 encourage those who have yet to claim to do so? Time will tell.

Introduced last year, the tax credit is offered at a rate of 20 per cent of your annual rent. Until now, a maximum of €500 per person (or €1,000 for a couple) applied, but for 2024, this will increase to €750/€1,500.

In practical terms, this may mean one month’s “free rent” for someone renting a room, or a couple in a one-bedroom apartment, or home, depending on where they live.

Some have argued that it just doesn’t go far enough. Marian Ryan, consumer tax expert and director with Taxback, says that the credit should be “much higher”.

“The average nationwide rent is currently €1,792 [according to the Daft rental report] and in some parts of the country, rents are significantly higher than that. So, if you take the average national rent, the new €750 annual rent credit doesn’t even cover the cost of half a month’s rent,” she says.

And as it’s a relief, you need to be paying tax — and enough of it — to benefit from the credit.

“Many of those renting in retirement aren’t eligible for the rent credit because their income isn’t liable for tax,” she adds.

To qualify for the full amount of €750 (€62.50 a month), you will need to pay rent of at least €3,750 in 2024 and have enough income tax paid to offset the relief.

Remember, if you previously didn’t qualify for the relief even though you had a child in digs for college in 2022 and 2023, you will be able to claim the relief retrospectively for those years.

You will be able to claim the new extended relief in the same way as previously, via MyAccount for PAYE taxpayers, or a Form 11 if you’re self-assessed.