Changes to Mortgage to Rent scheme
A number of changes are being made to the ‘Mortgage to Rent’ (MTR) scheme for people who have borrowed from commercial private lending institutions and who are at risk of losing their homes due to mortgage arrears.
It's hoped the changes, announced this week by Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien, will result in more people being able to benefit from the scheme, which has been amended to reflect current housing market conditions and most up-to-date research on those in long-term mortgage arrears.
The MTR scheme offers households in acute, unsustainable mortgage arrears situations, with little or no prospect of a significant change in circumstances, the chance to surrender a property to a lender and, in turn, become a social housing tenant while staying in their own home and community. As part of the scheme, the home will be brought up to private rental standards.
The key changes that will apply from February 14 2022, are:
- An increase to the positive equity limit, which is being adjusted by region to align it with the range of house prices and market conditions across the regions
- Purchase price thresholds updated to take account of current market conditions
- Additional flexibility in the number of allowable bedrooms in a dwelling – this will apply for borrowers aged 65 and above, and those who have a disability, or where a dependant has a disability
The changes follow a review of the MTR scheme by the Department of Housing. A strengthened MTR scheme was a commitment in both the Programme for Government and in Housing for All, the Government’s national plan on housing to 2030.
In 2021, 678 borrowers availed of the scheme, more than three times the amount of borrowers (196) who accessed the scheme in 2019.
Welcoming the changes, the Minister for Social Protection and Rural & Community Development, Heather Humphreys, said: “These changes will make life easier for many households in mortgage distress. For someone in mortgage arrears to lose their home is hugely difficult and stressful. Mortgage to Rent provides a solution to a complex problem by giving a person or family the option of remaining in their own home despite acute mortgage difficulties."
The Cavan Monaghan TD said it is the Government's objective to keep people in their homes where it is sustainable.
"The Mortgage to Rent scheme supports that objective. The changes position the scheme to provide a solution for 1,000 families per year from 2022, approximately 50% more than the number of completed cases in 2021, and towards a trebling of the number in 2020.
“It’s clear that there is continued demand for the scheme and we will keep the impact of these new changes under review and make future improvements if necessary. Ultimately we want the use of this scheme to be a long-term sustainable solution for the families and individuals for whom it is designed to assist.”
From the MTR scheme’s introduction in 2012 to the end of 2021, 1,682 families have remained in their home due to the scheme. A total of 5,012 individuals (2,738 adults and 2,274 children) are benefiting from the scheme. A further 720 cases are actively being progressed.
Further information on the scheme is available from: www.mortgagetorent.ie