Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Questions (212)

Michael Healy-Rae


212. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his views on correspondence regarding eviction (details supplied). [41526/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

While I cannot comment on individual cases, I am acutely conscious of the difficulties many households are facing in terms of mortgage arrears. Where any borrower, either from a local authority or from a private financial institution, is facing difficulties in meeting mortgage repayments, proactive and constructive engagement with the lender to seek to achieve an agreed solution is the recommended approach. The services of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service are also available to such borrowers and support is available through the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme.

As part of the Government's implementation of the recommendations in the Keane Report, my Department has developed a "mortgage to rent" scheme for households with commercial mortgages that:

- have had their mortgage position deemed unsustainable under a Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) , as provided for under the Central Bank's Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears;

- agree to the voluntary surrender of their home;

- do not have significant positive equity; and

- are eligible for social housing.

This scheme was extended nationally in June 2012, targeting those low income families whose mortgage situation is unsustainable and where there is little or no prospect of a significant change in circumstances in the foreseeable future. The scheme ensures that the family remains in their home, while ownership is transferred to an approved housing body who in turn rent it to the original owners. Eligibility requirements are in line with other forms of social housing support. A pilot mortgage to rent scheme for the most acute cases of local authority mortgage arrears is currently being operated by Westmeath County and Dublin City Councils ahead of national implementation later this year.