The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan Scheme enables credit-worthy first-time buyers to access sustainable mortgage lending to purchase new or second-hand properties in a suitable price range, where they cannot obtain sufficient mortgage finance from a commercial lender.
The Regulations under which the Scheme is established provide that the loan is available to first-time buyers only. The Regulations define a first-time buyer as having the same meaning as a first-time buyer in Section 92B of the Stamp Duties Consolidation Act 1999, which defines a first- time buyer as a person who has not individually or jointly with another person previously purchased a house or an apartment.
However, applicants who are separated or divorced may be treated as first-time buyers, in accordance with the regulations, if they meet certain conditions as set out in Section 92B of the 1999 Act, including that:
- they are legally separated or divorced under a court order or by a separation agreement or have been granted an annulment by a court;
- the property being purchased is the first property since leaving the family home;
- they have left the family home and retain no interest in it;
- they have made no financial gain from the transfer of the ownership of the family home; and
- the other party has remained in the family home.
Under the legislation, applicants wishing to avail of this exception must provide evidence that they are divorced, legally separated or have an annulment granted by the High Court.
The loans are provided by the local authorities and the applications are assessed by the Housing Agency on their behalf. Each local authority must have in place a credit committee which makes the final decision on applications for loans, in accordance with the regulations and having regard to the recommendations made by the Housing Agency.