Wednesday, 6 October 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
43. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the supports in place for a family whose family home has been sold on by their mortgage provider to a vulture fund and in cases in which that same mortgage provider had blocked the family from taking up the mortgage to rent scheme; if an appeal mechanism is in place for the family; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48592/21]
The Mortgage to Rent (MTR) scheme introduced in 2012 is targeted at those households in mortgage arrears who have had their mortgage position deemed unsustainable by their lender under the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process. In order for a borrower to qualify for the MTR scheme, the mortgage, property and household must meet detailed eligibility criteria. In addition, the MTR process has to be carefully implemented with so many parties involved, including the homeowner, the lender, the relevant local authority and the Approved Housing Body or Private Company willing to acquire the property to enable the borrower to remain in their home as a social housing tenant.
The MTR scheme relies on the lender making the scheme available to the borrower where the lender has deemed the mortgage to be unsustainable and assesses the borrower as being eligible for the MTR scheme. If a borrower has not been offered an alternative repayment arrangement, or where a borrower is unwilling to enter into an alternative repayment arrangement, and requests the lender to consider them for the MTR scheme and the lender assesses the borrower as being ineligible for the MTR, the lender is required to notify the borrower in writing of the reason(s) for ineligibility in a timely manner. Should it transpire that MTR is not an option in a particular case, it will be a matter for the borrower to discuss with their lender if there are other options available to resolve their mortgage arrears situation.
It is important also to highlight that there are no changes to the rights or obligations of a customer whose loan is sold by a bank. The Government introduced the Consumer Protection (Regulation of Credit Servicing Firms) Act 2015 to ensure that borrowers whose loans are sold retain the same protections which they had prior to the sale. In addition, as credit servicing firms servicing loans on behalf of unregulated entities are required to comply with the statutory Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (CCMA), all protections under the CCMA are unchanged.
My focus, and that of the Government, is to ensure that as many households as possible remain in their homes and I would encourage borrowers to engage with the Abhaile Service, the national mortgage arrears resolution service, which is available free of charge to the borrower. The unique element of Abhaile is that it brings together the full range of supports and services required by borrowers in home mortgage arrears. A dedicated adviser will work with the borrower and their lender to find the best solution for their particular situation. The Money Advice & Budgeting Service acts as the gateway for the service and can be contacted by telephoning (076)1072000 or by accessing their website at: www.mabs.ie/abhaile.
For those borrowers in danger of losing their home who are ineligible for the MTR scheme but qualify for social housing support, it is recommended that they engage as early as possible with their local authority regarding their long-term housing needs.