Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Ceisteanna (669)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

669. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on whether it is appropriate for a local authority to refuse to recommend a house for the mortgage to rent scheme on the grounds that the house is located in a rural area. [5539/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Mortgage to Rent (MTR) scheme introduced in 2012 is targeted at those households in mortgage arrears who are eligible for social housing support whose mortgage is unsustainable and who have very limited options, if any, to meet their long-term housing needs themselves. One of the main criteria underpinning the scheme is that the applicants are eligible for social housing.

It is a matter for individual local authorities to assess whether the property the subject of a MTR application is suitable to the household's needs and if there is a social housing demand in the area concerned beyond the needs of the current occupying household. This assessment is undertaken in respect of all properties put forward for the MTR scheme regardless of whether the property concerned is located in a rural or urban area.

A property may be deemed by a local authority to be unsuitable for social housing on the basis of this assessment. If MTR is not an option, it will be a matter for the borrower to discuss with their lender if there are other options available to resolve their mortgage arrears situation. Likewise, the borrower, if eligible for social housing, may also be able to consider other social housing options, including accessing the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).

The Abhaile service is a national mortgage arrears resolution service, provided free of charge to mortgage holders in arrears and its aim is to help these borrowers to find the best solutions and keep them, wherever possible, in their own homes. 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. The Money Advice and Budgetary Service (MABS) acts as the gateway for the service and can be contacted by telephoning (076)1072000 or by accessing their website at: www.mabs.ie/abhaile.