A laborer works on an apartment building under construction in the Har Homa quarter in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Five years since the street protests decrying that rent and sale price of homes were too high, the Knesset began considering a bill that would give tax breaks to renters.
“It’s time to make it easier for apartment renters in Israel,” said Yisrael Beytenu MK Yulia Malinovski, who introduced the bill.
“The average Israeli citizen is light-years away from buying an apartment, and is forced to live through renting. I know this situation well. Prices in the housing market are disproportionate, and we must make it easier for the working citizen who rents and is dealing with the high cost of living,” she added.
The bill, if approved, would provide one point of tax credit to people who rent, which Malinovski estimated would amount to NIS 2,550 per year. The credit would be split between couples who rent.
Ensuring that only renters use the credit, however, would require a significant bureaucratic undertaking. Malinovski proposed creating a database of properties that are rented out.
Malinovski argues that such a database would also help deal with another difficulty in the housing market: tax evasion by landlords, many of whom are thought to not report their income from rentals.
The bill has considerable backing from the coalition, which on Sunday also rejected a proposal from Hadash MK Dov Hanin.
Hanin had proposed an amendment to the basic law that would enshrine housing as a fundamental right.
“Five years after the housing protest, it is time that the state recognizes the right to housing as a fundamental right and guarantee that there will not be a citizen without a roof over his head,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Knesset’s housing lobby is planning a day of hearings to mark the fiveyear anniversary of the housing protests.
Since then, the cost of housing has roughly doubled.