Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Questions (746)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

746. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of properties successfully purchased through the national mortgage-to-rent scheme since its launch in 2012, by county in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52886/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

There are currently two Mortgage to Rent (MTR) schemes funded by my Department.

A Local Authority MTR scheme exists whereby a local authority can acquire ownership of properties with unsustainable local authority mortgages, thus enabling the household to remain in their home as social housing tenants.  From the scheme's inception in 2013 to the end of Q3 2019, 467 households have benefited under the scheme remaining in their homes as social housing tenants.

Information in relation to Local Authority MTR scheme transactions during its pilot phase in 2013 and annual transactions following the national roll out of the scheme in 2014 to the end of 2018, broken down by local authority area, is available on my Department’s website at the following link: 

http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/statistics/house-prices-loans-and-profile-borrowers/local-authority-loan-activity 

A further 32 households benefited from the scheme in the period Q1 to Q3 2019 as detailed in the following table:

Local Authority

No. of LAMTR transactions Q1 to end Q3 2019

Expenditure

Donegal

1

€122,402.70

Dublin City Council

26

€4,939,763.82

Sligo

1

€101,879.45

Tipperary

2

€115,999.25

Waterford

2

€261,585.50

Total

32

€5,541,630.72

The second MTR scheme provides for an Approved Housing Body (AHB) or a private company to acquire ownership of a property with an unsustainable private mortgage, which also enables the household to remain in their home as a social housing tenant. 

From the introduction of the private MTR scheme in 2012 to the end of October 2019, a total of 606 cases have been completed and a futher 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 below 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

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. 

Both MTR schemes are part of the overall suite of social housing options and an important part of the mortgage arrears resolution process.

My focus, and that of the Government, is to ensure that as many households as possible remain in their homes where possible.  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.