Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Questions (165)

Bernard Durkan


165. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the total number of shared ownership housing loans currently in arrears in respect of the rental part of their property; if cognisance has been taken of the fact that the regulations appertaining to such mortgages were penalised to the extent of an annual increase of 4.2%; if any review has been undertaken to address this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45309/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The rental equity portion of shared equity loans is managed by local authorities and serviced by them from the proceeds of rents received. While local authorities continue to meet loan payments to the Housing Finance Agency on their portion of shared equity properties, the shared areas of such properties may have individual arrears issues with local authorities, which are matters for resolution between the relevant local authority and their borrower. My Department does not hold specific information in that regard.

The Government's 2011 housing policy statement announced the standing down of all affordable housing schemes, including the shared ownership scheme, in the context of a full review of Part V of the Planning and Development Act. That review is available on my Department's website and the period for public submissions closed on 27 September 2013. Earlier in 2013, I asked the Housing & Sustainable Communities Agency to conduct a standalone review of the shared ownership scheme, including identification of the main difficulties and recommendations for mitigating measures. I have received an interim draft of the review from the Agency and I intend to issue a circular letter to local authorities this month with preliminary recommendations arising from the review.

A number of issues have been identified that need further detailed financial analysis in order to fully assess the impact on local authority finances of possible mitigating measures. This additional work is underway and I expect to make further determinations in the coming months.