In August 2012, my Department issued revised guidelines to local authorities for dealing with mortgage arrears within the local authority sector. Dealing with Mortgage Arrears – A Guide for Local Authorities is available on my Department’s website – www.environ.ie. The revised guidelines replaced those issued by my Department in March 2010.
While local authorities are not governed by the Central Bank, my Department’s guidelines are broadly based on the Central Bank’s Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (CCMA) and require each local authority to set up a dedicated Arrears Support Unit (ASU) by 1 October 2012 to deal with local authority mortgage arrears. The ASU engages in the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) with qualifying borrowers who are in arrears with their mortgage repayments, or those at risk of going into arrears due to their financial circumstances. The purpose of the MARP is to try to identify an acceptable and sustainable resolution to the borrower’s mortgage arrears situation that best suits the borrower’s circumstances. The ASU in each local authority engages in ongoing contact with borrowers in accordance with the Department’s guidelines.
The Central Bank issued a revised Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears which came into effect on 1 July 2013. My Department, in conjunction with local authorities, is currently updating its guidelines in line with the Central Bank’s revised Code and this will issue to local authorities in the near future.