Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Ceisteanna (530)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

530. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the detail of the recent changes to the mortgage to rent scheme. [40785/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Following a Review of the Mortgage to Rent (MTR) Scheme, published on 8 February 2017, a range of amendments to the eligibility criteria and administration of the MTR scheme came into effect to enable more properties to qualify and to make the scheme more flexible and accessible to borrowers. The Review, available at the following link: http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/changes-in-mortgage-to-rent-scheme/, explored the impediments to participation in the scheme and recommended a number of actions to make the scheme work better for borrowers.

To increase borrowers’ awareness and understanding of MTR a new dedicated mortgage to rent website, www.mortgagetorent.ie, has been developed by my Department together with the Housing Agency, with input from the Abhaile Service and the Insolvency Service of Ireland. The website, which went live in June 2018, complements the other improvements that have been made to the scheme following the 2017 Review.

My Department and the Housing Agency are working with all stakeholders to ensure that the actions set out in the Review are being effectively implemented to benefit a greater number of households.

The MTR Review, taking account of capacity within the Approved Housing Body sector, also recommended that alternative funding options, including the off-balance sheet potential of private institutional investment, be explored in order to allow the MTR scheme to deliver at scale. An Expressions of Interest Request issued in 2017 inviting parties from the private sector to express their interest in participating in a new alternatively funded long-term MTR lease model.

The outcome from the EOI process is that a new MTR process was announced in July 2018 with Home For Life Ltd. as the participant from the private sector. Under this pilot model, Home For Life Ltd. will acquire properties from lenders subsequent to their voluntary surrender by eligible borrowers who are in mortgage arrears, and who require long-term State assistance in meeting their housing needs. Home For Life will simultaneously enter into long-term lease arrangements with the local authorities in whose area the properties are situated. The local authority then sub-leases the property to the previous borrower under a tenancy agreement with the borrower becoming a social housing tenant. This enables the borrower to remain living in their home paying an affordable rent to their local authority. It is expected that Home for Life Ltd. will deliver a minimum of 50 cases under this alternatively funded long-term MTR lease model in 2018.

In all scenarios, my Department and the Housing Agency are focused on meeting the long-term housing needs of the greatest number of households in unsustainable mortgage arrears.