The Home Renovation Scheme was announced in Budget 2013.  It provides a tax credit of 13.5 percent of qualifying expenditure that can be set against income tax over two years.  The work must be done prior to 2016. The applicant must be an owner occupier who carries out work on a principal private residence.  LPT and household charges must be paid up to date.

The contractor employed must be registered for VAT and be tax compliant.  In effect the incentive represents a repayment of the VAT.

The qualifying work must be the repair, renovation or improvement of a dwelling house subject to VAT.  It includes supplying and fitting of installations such as kitchens, bathrooms, wardrobes and certain aspects of long-term maintenance such as plumbing, rewiring and plastering.  Work such as related professional services subject to the higher rate 23 percent VAT, is not covered.

The work must be at least €5000 inclusive of VAT.  The maximum tax credit is €30,000. An application must be made to Revenue for the relief.

A Housing Adaptation Grant is available to make a home more suitable for persons with physical or intellectual disabilities. The grant may finance changes and adaptations to  a home to make it more suitable to the person\’s needs.

Minor works may be facilitated by a Mobility Aids Grant.   In this case, a means test, apply.

The Mobility Aids Grant is available for owner occupied houses or houses purchased under a local authority scheme, private rented accommodation and accommodation provided under voluntary housing assistance or rent subsidy schemes.

The availability of the grant is dependent on priority needs.  Priority 1 are those who are terminally ill or fully or mainly dependant on family or carer, where alterations or adaptations would facilitate discharge from hospital or alleviate future hospital needs. Priority 2 are persons who need assistance with daily routines without which their independent functioning would be inhibited.  Priority 3 are persons who are independent but requires special facilities to improve their quality of life.

The housing grant for people with a disability is mean tested.  Household income is taken into account.  Grants of more than €10,000 require the recipient to have a tax clearance cert.  The contractor must have a tax clearance cert.

If the household income is less than €30,000 up to 95 percent of the works to a maximum of €30,000 may be paid for.  The proportion grant aided will be reduced from 95 down to 30 percent on a reducing basis where income exceeds these amounts.

If the applicant is unable to obtain a loan on a commercial basis, a local authority home improvement loan may be available.

The maximum grants taper downwards from an income above €30,000 to zero above €65,000. A lower grant is available in the case of newer properties.

The Housing Aid for Older Persons Scheme is designed to improve the living conditions of older persons.  In this context, older persons are over 60 although exceptionally assistance may be given to persons under 60 years in cases of hardship.

Local authorities have different criteria regarding the types of work they will approve under the scheme.  Works typically covered include structural repairs and improvements, repairing, replacement of windows and doors, water, sanitary services, cleaning and painting, Radon remediation and rewiring.

Priority will be given priority on the basis of medical needs. The local authority may request an Occupational Therapist\’s assessment.

The grant is means tested.  Similar rules apply as to the previous scheme.  The applicant must have tax clearance certificate where the grant exceeds €10,000.

Household income is taken into account.  The maximum grant  €10,500 is available to persons with household income up to €30,000.  This tapers down to zero at household income of €65,000 in a number of bands.

Under both of the above schemes the percentage of the work covered, tapers downwards for  persons with income between €30,000 and €65,000.  This falls from a 100 percent down to 30 percent at €54,000 and zero at €65,000.

The Mobility Aids Grant provides for works to improve mobility in the home.  It typically includes stair-lifts, access ramps and  rails in shower.  This is primarily for older persons but may be available to persons with a disability.

The tests are broadly similar as for other housing grants.  It is available for persons with household income of less than €30,000.  The maximum grant is €6,000 and covers up to 100 percent of the work.  A tax clearance certificate is usually required.

There is a scheme enabling local authorities to improve privately owned houses as an alternative to providing local authority housing.  It is necessary that the applicants are thereby removed from the housing list.

It applies to owner occupiers in overcrowded or houses which do not meet standards, who cannot afford to make improvements.  It is also available to local authority tenants, purchasers or  housing authority tenants who wish to purchase a home owned by relative but cannot do so because it is too small or requires improvement.

Under the scheme, the local authority does works to remove the defects or improve the house by extension, other improvement or development.

Local authorities offer loans to owner occupiers for the purpose of repairs, improvements and extensions, if the applicant cannot obtain a loan from a commercial bank and  the house concerned needs improvement, repairing or extension due to overcrowding.

The applicant must satisfy an income test, be on a housing list,  or be a local authority or tenant purchaser and wishes to purchase a house and return the present house to the authority.  The income test does not apply to those registered on a local authority list, a tenant of a local authority or housing association wishing to return a house etc.

The income test requires that the income be €40,000 or less.  The income threshold is €40,000 for a single income household.  The maximum loans are €38,000, or €15,000 where there are no mortgages.

The Housing Aid for Older Persons Scheme is aimed at providing minor repairs for older persons.  It is aided by the local authority.  It may include structural repairs, rewiring, repair, replacement, provision of sanitary, water, heating, cleaning etc.   The Housing Adaptation Grant for persons with Disability and Mobility Aids Grant may also be available.

The Better Energy Home scheme provides grants to home owners to improve energy efficiency.  It is available to renters, landlords and owner occupiers.  It is administered by Sustainable Energy Ireland.

Grants are available to cover key works such as installation, heating controls update and the  installation of high-efficiency boiler.  That work must improve the BER rating. Solar heating provision was  discontinued.

The house must be constructed before 2006.  A contractor must be used from SEAI’s approved list.  The grants range between €200 and €3,600 depending on the type of the work concerned.

The Greener Homes Scheme formerly operated by the  Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland was discontinued in May 2011.  The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme is administered by SEAI.  It provides for attic installation, draught proofing, low energy light bulbs and cavity wall insulation and energy advice.  The home must be completed before 2002 and the applicant must be a recipient of Job Seeker\’s Allowance, Family Income Support or Fuel Allowance


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