Homeowners reject 'bedroom tax' suggestion

Ideas for a bedroom tax to encourage empty nesters to downsize have been rejected by homeowners.

The Housing Minister has denied that he is considering implementing a bedroom tax.

The idea was firmly rejected by homeowners over the age of 55 who were surveyed by the Department of Housing.

Two-thirds of respondents said they have no plans to move, while just 5% said a tax on unused bedrooms would make them reconsider.

Minister Eoghan Murphy says such a tax is not on the cards.

"No, we're not considering a bedroom tax. I don't know where that's come from," he said.

"What we had yesterday at a very important conference organised by my department and the ESRI was a survey on attitudes of people over the age of 55 and whether they'd be willing to move home if it was in the same area, if it was cheaper but smaller.

"It was a survey asking those kinds of questions because one of the things we need to do is to more effectively use our existing housing stock.

Two-thirds of homeowners over the age of 55 surveyed by the Department of Housing say they will not be moving house in the future.

Just 5% of the 1,200 people surveyed said a charge on unused bedrooms would make them reconsider.

More than half of respondents said they wanted to stay put because they had an emotional attachment to their home, while local friendships and community ties were also important factors.

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