Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Questions (342)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

342. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of applications made since the introduction of the mortgage to rent scheme per annum in tabular form; the number of applications successfully granted since the introduction of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48086/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

From the introduction of the Mortgage to Rent (MTR) scheme in 2012 to end October 2019, a total of 4,984 cases had been submitted.  Of these 4,984 cases, 3,253 were ineligible or terminated during the process. Of the remaining cases submitted, 606 have been completed and the remaining 1,125 are actively being progressed.  The number of completed MTR cases is increasing every month, with a 76% increase in the number of cases completing in the period January to October 2019 (161) compared to the same period in 2018 (91).  The MTR process from application stage to completion stage is also operating more speedily as a result of the streamlining initiatives that have been undertaken. 

The following table details the number of MTR transactions completed in the years 2012 to 2018 and up to the end of October 2019:

Year

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019 (To End October)

TOTAL

Number of MTR transactions competed

1

21

29

96

70

91

137

161

606

Information in relation to the number of MTR applications submitted annually from 2012 to 2018 and to end October 2019 is outlined in the following table.  In the earlier stages of the operation of the scheme, when lenders were not familiar with its operation, 500 cases were incorrectly submitted by lenders.  In addition, 233 cases were submitted in duplicate.  By its nature, the scheme also lends itself to a large withdrawal rate and to the end of October 2019, 1,256 applications had been withdrawn.  If other options rather than losing home ownership are put forward by the lender, a borrower is more likely to avail of these other options. 

Year

No. of MTR applications

2012

681

2013

1,080

2014

527

2015

893

2016

394

2017

282

2018

618

2019 to end October

509

The Housing Agency, who administer the MTR scheme on my Department's behalf, publishes, on a quarterly basis, detailed statistical information on the operation of the MTR scheme.  This information is available on the Agency's website at the following link:

https://www.housingagency.ie/our-services/housing-supply-services/mortgage-to-rent.aspx.  

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 http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/changes-in-mortgage-to-rent-scheme/, 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 has worked with all stakeholders to ensure that the actions set out in the Review are effectively implemented to benefit a greater number of households.  In that context, 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 progress into completed transactions for varied reasons, 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. 

My focus, and that of the Government, is to ensure that as many households as possible remain in their homes and I would encourage borrowers to engage with the Abhaile Service, the national mortgage arrears resolution service, which is available free of charge to the borrower.  The unique element of Abhaile is that it brings together, for the first time, the full range of supports and services required by borrowers in home mortgage arrears.  A dedicated adviser will work with the borrower and their lender to find the best solution for their particular situation.  MABS act as the gateway for the service and can be contacted by telephoning (076)1072000 or by accessing their website at: www.mabs.ie/abhaile.

For those borrowers in danger of losing their home who are ineligible for the MTR scheme but qualify for social housing support, it is recommended that they engage as early as possible with their local authority regarding their long-term housing needs.