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Further clarity sought on revised Mortgage to Rent Scheme- Eoin Ó Broin TD

9 February, 2017 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin has called on Minister Coveney to provide further clarity on the proposed changes to the Mortgage to Rent scheme.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“Sinn Féin will warmly welcome proposals that allow distressed mortgage holders to retain the family home.  In the five years since the Mortgage to Rent scheme was introduced only 217 families have been able to remain in their home through this scheme. Given that there are some 56, 350 private dwelling mortgages in arrears for over ninety days, the Mortgage to Rent scheme can only be described as an abject failure.

“Sinn Fein welcomes a number of the changes to the scheme announced by the Minister. We welcome the moves to broaden the eligibility criteria including the valuation thresholds and the house size. We also welcome the increase in the value of repairs that can be approved by the Housing Agency from €10,000 to €15,000.

“While Sinn Féin will positively consider any improvement to the Mortgage to Rent scheme we have serious concerns with the lack of detail regarding the involvement of private equity firms.

“The information provided in the review raises more questions than answers and we urgently need Minister Coveney to provide greater clarity on a number of issues.  For example, if a private equity firm purchased a distressed mortgage and leases the property to the state for 20 years what happens at the end of the lease period? Can the fund sell the property during or at the end of the lease period? What implications does this have for a family’s security of tenure?

“The financial aspects of such leases are also not clear. How much will the state pay for the lease over the 20 year period? Will this be more expensive the standard Approved Housing Body mortgage to rent leases? Is the government considering a lease to buy model so that the state owns the asset at the end of the lease period.

“Importantly the majority of those distressed mortgage holders will not be eligible for the revised scheme as their income is above the threshold for social housing support. What does the Minister propose to assist these families?

“Any improvements to the Mortgage to Rent scheme must be benefit the distressed mortgage holder and must be good value for the taxpayer. “

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