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E20m to help local authority homeowners

Tuesday, February 11 14:21:55

Minister for Housing and Planning, Jan O'Sullivan, today announced a new E20m fund to assist the most distressed local authority mortgage holders.

The fund will be used to offer the 'mortgage-to-rent' solution to these local authority mortgage holders across the country.

"The mortgage arrears problem is particularly acute in the local authority sector, with approximately 31pc of all loans in arrears for 90 days or more. It is important that these households are given access to the same options available to other mortgage holders. The Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) has been implemented across the local authority sector and today's announcement will ensure that the 'mortgage to rent' option is available to local authority mortgage holders," stated Minister O'Sullivan.

Mortgage to rent was one of the solutions identified in the Keane Report on mortgage arrears. It enables low to middle income families in an unsustainable mortgage situation to remain in their home. For holders of mortgages from private lenders, the home is bought at current market value and the family becomes a tenant of an approved housing body. To date, 33 mortgage to rent transactions are complete, another 61 are at sale agreed stage, 22 are under offer and 61 are at valuation stage.

"The E20m fund will allow local authorities to offer the mortgage to rent scheme to local authority mortgage holders with unsustainable mortgages. This will enable families to stay in their home and their established community. Surrendering the ownership equity in a home is a very difficult decision for a family; however, the mortgage to rent option does provide families with stability and continuity, after an often long period of financial turmoil. Ownership of the home transfers to the local authority and the family pays a differential rent."

"This is just one of a range of solutions available to local authority mortgage holders in arrears. The most important step any family in arrears can take is to engage early with the Arrears Support Unit of the local authority. Solutions are available and advice should be sought as early as possible."