Thinking of renting a room to a college student? You could earn €12,000 tax-free

A new student campaign highlight the tax benefits of letting out student digs

A new campaign is encouraging Dubliners to rent their spare rooms to students, tax-free.

Under the government’s rent-a-room scheme, homeowners don’t have to pay tax on rental income earned from digs unless it exceeds a yearly cap of €12,000.

UCD Students’ Union, TCD Students’ Union and Daft.ie are highlighting the tax incentives as part of an initiative to secure more affordable accommodation for students in the capital.

The campaign will see geo-targeted online ads being rolled out on DoneDeal.ie and Adverts.ie, as well as a joint social media campaign.

The project is valued at €8,000 and features testimonials of positive student experiences.

UCD undergraduate Rachel Hally said dig accommodation helped her cope with the transition into third-level education.

“Digs is a different experience from living in rented or student accommodation.

“When I finished my Leaving Cert, I was 16. Living in digs made my life easier as being away from home for me was terrifying.

“The family setting was reassuring and definitely helped me put more work into study as a first year.”

SU presidents from TCD and UCD, Kieran McNulty and Conor Viscardi, hope the campaign will create more bed spaces as a short-term solution to the lack of student housing. 

“Digs are a student-specific area of the housing market that can help resolve the issue of supply," they said.

“The private sector is overcrowded and campus accommodation is underdeveloped.

“But if we can widely relay information on tax incentives for letting digs, we might be able to create a couple of hundred new bed spaces for students in a matter of weeks rather than years.

“Of course, it’s also about getting a positive message out there.

"Some homeowners might be apprehensive at the thought of letting to students but the type of people who go for digs beds are the same that make for good tenants.

"They’re happier in a home setting than they would be in the typical student bedsit.”

To qualify for the scheme, your home must be occupied as your sole residency. 

While tenants may also avail of the tax incentives, relief only applies in cases of residential tenancies, not short-term lets.

Renting your room out to a student over the course of a college year is covered, for example, but taking different people in every weekend is not.

The scheme will not affect your mortgage interest relief or your exemption from capital gains tax (CGT) if you sell your home.