Thursday, 18 February 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
Home Loan Scheme
126. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the location in the documentation relating to the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme in which there is a specific criteria for eligibility outlined (details supplied); the way applicants for this scheme can be refused on the basis of a regulation or eligibility criteria which is not outlined in documentation relating to the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9180/21]
The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme is administered by the local authorities, in accordance with the Housing (Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan) Regulations 2018.
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 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 final decision on loan approval is a matter for each local authority and its Credit Committee on a case-by-case basis.
Decisions on all housing loan applications must be made in accordance with the statutory credit policy that underpins the scheme, in order to ensure consistency of treatment for all applicants.
Loan applicants who are dissatisfied with a loan application decision of a local authority Credit Committee may appeal that decision to the local authority. Details of the appeals process are available from the relevant local authority.
127. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the details of the cost rental schemes announced on 8 February 2021; the way these schemes will operate in practice; the way persons interested in availing of these schemes can apply for them; if eligibility is dependent on the local authority of a person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9192/21]
The Cost Rental developments announced on 8 February 2021 have been given approval in principle under the new Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) scheme. This scheme was allocated €35m in funding in Budget 2021, and will see the Government issue loans on favourable terms to Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) for up to 30% of the cost of new homes for Cost Rental. Following an assessment process of applications submitted for the scheme, approval was granted to the Clúid, Respond and Tuath AHBs for 390 new homes in 2021.
These new homes are located in Dublin, the Greater Dublin Area, and Cork, with cost-covering rents projected to be at least 25% below comparable open market prices. Precise details of these developments, including locations, will be released when the AHBs have completed commercial arrangements.
Cost Rental homes will be operated and allocated in line with provisions in the forthcoming Affordable Housing Bill. The provisions defines Cost Rental in Ireland for the first time and will allow the Minister to regulate tenancies in which the rent only covers clearly defined costs. The Bill also stipulates that the rent may increase on an annual basis only in line with consumer inflation, so that it will remain stable in real terms while continuing to cover rising management and maintenance costs.
Operational conditions, including specific eligibility criteria and allocations procedures, will be finalised in the Bill. However, the primary condition on eligibility being considered is the setting by the Minister of a maximum household income for new tenants, which will ensure that Cost Rental benefits the target cohort of moderate-income households. These households would be above the income limits for social housing supports and facing affordability pressures in the private rental market. There are currently no plans to restrict eligibility to households which are already resident in, or otherwise linked to, particular Local Authorities.