Thursday, 9 May 2019
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
Home Loan Scheme
171. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if there is discretion in the administration of the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme that would allow for the inclusion of a property that is slightly larger than the size guidelines highlighted in the criteria; and if other criteria are met by an applicant, if discretion can be used in relation to the size of the property. [20218/19]
The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme is administered by the local authorities, in accordance with the Housing (Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan) Regulations 2018. Under the Regulations each authority must establish a credit committee to decide on applications for loans. The Regulations broadly set out the amount that can be lent under the scheme, the eligibility criteria for loans, the duties of borrowers and housing authorities and other administrative matters relating to the scheme. Under the Regulations a credit policy is issued which sets out in greater detail the requirements regarding eligibility under the scheme. Under both the Regulations and the credit policy it is clearly stipulated that a loan cannot be issued where the house being purchased has a gross internal floor area of 175 square metres or more. It is therefore not possible for a local authority to approve a loan for a property with a gross internal floor area of more than 175 square metres.
The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme was launched in February last year to replace the existing House Purchase and the Home Choice Loan schemes. The scheme has proved to be more successful than was originally envisaged and as a result I have been in discussions with my colleague the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform regarding further funding for it. In order to protect both borrowers and local authorities the continuation of the scheme will have to be in accordance with the prudent lending criteria under which the scheme currently operates. I therefore have no plans to change the eligibility criteria governing the scheme.