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'The entire system is rubbish': Just 40 houses bought through mortgage-to-rent scheme

David Hall, Director of the Irish Mortgage Holders’ Organisation, said it is “sickening” that it’s cheaper for banks to repossess a house than it is to participate in the scheme.

JUST 40 HOUSES have been purchased through the government’s mortgage-to-rent scheme since its launch in 2012.

David Hall, Director of the Irish Mortgage Holders’ Organisation (IMHO), has sharply criticised the scheme, saying: “The entire system is rubbish.”

“Basically, in a nutshell, you know something is failing when it’s cheaper for a bank to repossess a house than it is to participate in the mortgage-to-rent scheme … It’s absolutely catastrophic.”

Hall noted that half of the 40 deals completed went through the IMHO.

He said that Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan needed to arrange a meeting between all relevant parties to try and solve the problem: banks; housing associations; borrowers and groups like the IMHO.

On foot of recommendations in the Keane Report on mortgage arrears, the government rolled out the scheme in February 2012 before extending it nationally the following June.

The scheme enables mortgage holders to remain in their home, while ownership is transferred to an approved housing body who in turn rents it to the original owners.

The numbers

To date, 2,458 cases have been put forward by the lenders and 1,458 of these are being progressed. Some 798 have been approved for customer contact.

40 cases have been completed with households paying a differential rent to their local authority. A further 72 sales have been agreed and another 27 are under offer. An additional 98 are at the valuation stage in the process.

A total of 235 applications have been received from applicants for social housing support. Of these, 207 have qualified for it, while 6 have not. The remaining 22 applications are awaiting assessment.

mortgage to rent schemes by county Source: Oireachtas.ie

Under the scheme, Dublin properties must be bought for less than €220,000 and homes outside of the capital for less than €180,000.

‘Sickening’

Hall said the scheme was the “most unique set of circumstances you’ll ever find in mortgage arrears” and, if arranged properly, could see a situation where “everyone wins”.

He added that the failure of the scheme was “sickening” as if affects “the most vulnerable borrowers, who everyone agrees are goosed”.

In April, banks told the Oireachtas Finance Committee that they have sent letters to about 30,000 homeowners threatening repossessions.

Speaking in the Dáil recently, O’Sullivan said that the system was aimed at “low income families whose mortgage situation is unsustainable and where there is little or no prospect of a significant change in circumstances in the foreseeable future”.

Read: Lenders following arrears guidelines from Keane Report, says Central Bank

Read: Mortgage to rent: How it works, and why it’s the best solution

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Órla Ryan

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