I am advised by the Central Bank of Ireland that its Consumer Protection Code 2012 (the CPC) contains a number of protections for mortgage holders, including buy-to-let mortgage holders. The CPC sets out requirements around information which must be provided to a mortgage borrower prior to taking out the mortgage, and establishes timeframes for assessing mortgage applications. The CPC also imposes ‘Knowing the Consumer and Suitability’ requirements on lenders. Under these requirements, lenders are required to assess affordability of credit and the suitability of a product or service based on the individual circumstances of each borrower.
With respect to arrears handling, the protections of the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears 2013 may apply to a buy-to-let mortgage if the mortgage relates to a residential property which is the only residential property owned by the borrower in the State. Otherwise, the arrears handling provisions of the CPC apply, including the requirement that the regulated entity must seek to agree the approach that will assist the consumer in resolving the arrears.
The European Union (Consumer Mortgage Credit Agreements) Regulations 2016 provide a framework within which lenders in the European Union must operate and applies to relevant credit agreements that come into effect after 21 March 2016, including buy-to-let mortgages. The Regulations set out further requirements on provision of information and creditworthiness assessments.
The Consumer Credit Act 1995 (CCA) also includes requirements for housing loans, including buy-to-let mortgages. Under the CCA, lenders must include a summary of prescribed information relating to the loan on the front page of the loan agreement.
I currently have no plans to make changes in relation to the suite of protections that apply to buy-to-let mortgage holders.