Mortgage to Rent Scheme could help growing number of homeowners with mortgage difficulties

More than 100 could be affected says expert

Conor McHugh

Reporter:

Conor McHugh

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editor@kildarepost.com

More Kildare homeowners with mortgage arrears eligible for Mortgage to Rent Scheme

Homeowners in mortgage distress could now be eligible for the scheme

Changes to the Government's Mortgage to Rent Scheme could see more than 100 Kildare householders who previously did not qualify now eligible to re-enter it.

The scheme is designed to help homeowners who are at risk of losing their homes due to mortgage arrears by allowing people in mortgage difficulty to switch from owning their home to renting it as social housing tenants.

The scheme is overseen by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and is administered by the Housing Agency.

And new figures from the Housing Agency show that 126 households in the county were previously ruled ineligible to benefit from the Mortgage To Rent scheme. However, a leading expert in the field says many of those who had their applications rejected could now find solutions thanks to changes in the scheme.

“There has been a widening of the house value eligibility parameters by the Government, which have risen to €395,000 in Kildare,” said Paul Cunningham, CEO of the only Government-approved Mortgage To Rent private operator, Home For Life.

“Another reason is Home For Life’s arrival into the scheme. Unlike many other operators, we are happy to consider rural dwellings or houses that need money spent on them to bring them up to a good standard.

“In the past, those two categories were responsible for high numbers of termination decisions.

“Home For Life is happy to assess each case on its merits and we will do everything in our power to ensure that those wanting their mortgage debt resolved can achieve that. We do not reject cases because of the location of the property or the level of repairs needed which was a problem in the past.”

According to Central Bank figures, there are over 1,500 family home loans around the county in arrears for two years or more.

Under the Mortgage To Rent scheme, 113 cases have either been completed or are being actively progressed, and this number is expected to increase significantly in the coming 12 months.

“There is a growing realisation that Mortgage To Rent provides a real alternative for both the householders and the lenders to find a solution that works for all sides,” said Mr Cunningham.

“The Government has developed the scheme over the years by widening the eligibility bands while now all lenders, including banks and credit servicing funds, are offering Mortgage To Rent as an important part of their options for homeowners in long term arrears. Because lenders want to avoid repossessions, Mortgage To Rent is now the ethical alternative to repossession.

“With the upcoming elections, it is also important that electoral candidates understand how the MTR scheme could work for many of their constituents who find themselves in serious mortgage arrears.”