I propose to take Questions Nos. 269 and 270 together.
Since the introduction of the Mortgage to Rent (MTR) scheme in 2012, a total of 4,475 cases have been submitted under the scheme to the end of 2018. Of the 4,475 cases submitted, 3,043 were ineligible or terminated during the process. Of the remaining cases submitted, 445 have been completed, and the remaining 987 applications are being actively progressed.
The reasons why a case may not have progressed are varied and can depend on the household, the property, the ability of the Approved Housing Body (AHB) sector to increase its involvement in the scheme, the sale of the property not being agreed between the lender and AHB or an MTR application being withdrawn by either the lender or the borrower. The Housing Agency publishes, on a quarterly basis, detailed statistical information on the operation of the MTR scheme including the reasons for cases not progressing and the number of such cases. This information is available on the Agency's website at the following link:
The primary reason for cases not progressing is the withdrawal of MTR applications. To the end of 2018, the number of MTR applications withdrawn was 1,173. All withdrawals are notified by the lender and the underlying reasons for withdrawal are not indicated. However, it is known that the 1,173 cases included some 500 applications that were incorrectly submitted by lenders in the early stages of the scheme when lenders were not familiar with the scheme's purpose and operation.
Not all MTR applications will develop into fully completed transactions given the understandable reluctance of those in mortgage arrears to lose ownership of their homes. Such a decision cannot be taken lightly and so the MTR process allows the borrower enough time to consider the option fully. If other options rather than losing home ownership are put forward by the lender, a borrower is more likely to avail of these. This is particularly the case in the context of a now improving economy.
A Review of the MTR scheme, published on 8 February 2017, introduced a range of amendments to the eligibility criteria and administration of the scheme in order to improve its operation. The Review, which is available at the following link explored the avenues and impediments to participation in the scheme and recommended a number of actions to make the scheme work better for borrowers. My Department and the Housing Agency are working with all stakeholders to ensure that the actions set out in the Review are being effectively implemented to benefit a greater number of households. The eligibility requirements of the scheme were widened to include a greater number of borrowers and a larger number of property types. Increasing awareness and understanding of the scheme has been a priority and a new website - www.mortgagetorent.ie - dedicated to guiding and advising borrowers has been developed. In addition, new structures and arrangements have been put in place to encourage a greater number of entities to take part in the scheme.
While it will continue to be the case that not all MTR applications will develop into completed transactions, the implementation of the resulting actions from the Review means that MTR is available to provide a long-term solution for more households in mortgage distress, where appropriate.