I propose to take Questions Nos. 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215 and 216 together.
The Mortgage to Rent (MTR) scheme was introduced in 2012 for borrowers of commercial lending institutions and is targeted at those households in mortgage arrears who have had their mortgage position deemed unsustainable by their lender under the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP), who agree to the voluntary surrender of their home and who have very limited options, if any, to meet their long-term housing needs themselves. In addition, the household must be deemed eligible for social housing support. The concept of the scheme is that a household with an unsustainable mortgage goes from being a homeowner to being a social housing tenant.
Under the MTR scheme, the borrower surrenders their property to their lender and it will be then sold to the MTR provider who is interested in the property. This can be either an Approved Housing Body (AHB) or since 2018 a private company, Home for Life Ltd. If more than one party is interested in buying the property, the lender will provide information to the borrower around the options available to them and the borrower will make the decision on who purchases the property. The AHB or local authority (in the case where the property is sold to a private company) becomes the landlord and the borrower remains in the property as a tenant paying a differential rent to the landlord based on his or her income.
To the end of December 2021, 1,682 households with unsustainable private mortgages have completed the MTR process and 720 cases are being actively progressed. There has been an upward trend in the completion of MTR cases since 2017, with over 20% of all cases being completed in 2020 (363 cases) and 40% completed in 2021 (678 cases). It is envisaged that the Department will meet its target of 1,000 cases in 2022.
Valuations undertaken for the MTR scheme take into account the condition of the property when they are carried out. MTR providers, both AHB and non-AHB, are obliged to undertake the necessary remedial or refurbishment works to bring the properties that they acquire under the scheme up to statutory private rental standards and the amount of rent paid is based on the market rent of the property. MTR providers are also responsible for maintaining the property on a regular basis. The Department does not have sight of this cost as they are met directly by the MTR provider.
At the end of 2021, there were 12 AHBs participating in the MTR scheme.
The MTR scheme is overseen by the Department but the Housing Agency look after the administration of the scheme on behalf of the Department. Within the Department there is a team of four people managed by a Principal Officer, who have responsibility for the MTR scheme along with other duties.
A MTR scheme was also introduced for local authority borrowers which is called Local Authority Mortgage to Rent (LAMTR) and has been in place nationally since 2014. Under the scheme, 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. Information in relation to the Local Authority MTR scheme from its inception in 2013 to end 2020, broken down by local authority area, is available on my Department's website under the heading Local Authority Mortgage to Rent at the link below. During that period, a total of 532 households had benefited from the scheme. Information relating to 2021 will be made available shortly.
https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/42d2f-local-authority-loan-activity/#local-authority-mortgage-to-rent-scheme > refer to the section “Local Authority Mortgage to Rent scheme”.
Both MTR schemes are established parts of the overall suite of social housing options and are important parts of the mortgage arrears resolution process.
It is possible for MTR applicants to buy back their home if they can obtain the finance for the purchase of the property. To date under the MTR scheme, two properties have been bought back - one in 2019 and one in 2021.