Minister Damien English welcomes new Mortgage to Rent (MTR) Scheme Property Price Acquisition Thresholds

Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Urban Development, Damien English, T.D., has welcomed an increase new property price acquisition cost limits for properties under the Mortgage to Rent Scheme to apply from 1 July 2019.

The Minister said “The 2019 increase in the property purchase price thresholds for eligibility to the scheme is a further step in enabling more properties to qualify for the scheme.  Mortgage to Rent offers a real solution to unsustainable mortgage arrears and I would encourage borrowers in mortgage distress to visit www.mortgagetorent.ie for full details on the scheme.”

In order to qualify for the MTR scheme, both the borrower and property must be eligible.  The property price thresholds for eligibility under the scheme which were most recently increased in 2017 have been reviewed by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government taking account of market conditions and the acquisition thresholds for social housing generally. The threshold for a house in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow is being increased to €395,000 while the threshold for an apartment / townhouse in these areas remains unchanged at €310,000.  For the rest of the country, the threshold for a house is being increased to €305,000 and for an apartment / townhouse to €220,000. These thresholds will continue to be subject to regular reviews taking account of the market at the time and will continue remain in line with the acquisition thresholds for social housing generally.

Since the introduction of the MTR scheme in 2012 to the end of May 2019, 520 cases have been completed with the rate of completions significantly increasing in 2019 with 75 cases completed in the period from January to the end of May while a further 1,034 cases are being actively progressed by the Housing Agency. The Minister said that “the improvements made to the MTR scheme have taken some time to impact on the numbers given that MTR is complex by its very nature and the number of stakeholders involved and also that giving up ownership of your home is a significant decision for the borrower that must be acknowledged”.  The Minister went on to say “I very much welcome the increase in the number of MTR cases completing which confirms that it is a good solution to unsustainable mortgage arrears and one that is being recognised as such by more borrowers.”

Information on the terms and conditions of the schemes, including eligibility requirement are available on the Government’s website www.mortgagetorent.ie

Background to the MTR scheme

Mortgage to Rent is a Government scheme established in 2012 that assists borrowers who are in mortgage arrears to stay in their home.  Eligible households must:

  • have had their mortgage position deemed unsustainable under a Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (as provided for under the Central Bank’s Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears) by their lender;
  • agree to the voluntary surrender of their home to their lender;
  • not have significant positive equity in the property; and
  • be eligible for social housing.

Under the scheme, a household with mortgage arrears goes from being a homeowner to becoming a social housing tenant. They voluntarily surrender their property to their lender who in turn sell the property to an Approved Housing Body (AHB) or a Private Company.   The household gets to remain in the family home as social housing tenants and pays a rent in line with their means.

Review of the Mortgage to Rent (MTR) Scheme 2017

The Review of the Mortgage to Rent (MTR) Scheme, published on 8 February 2017, introduced a range of amendments to the eligibility criteria and administration of the MTR scheme. The Review, available at the following link: https://rebuildingireland.ie/news/changes-in-mortgage-to-rent-scheme/, explored the impediments to participation in the scheme and recommended a number of actions to make the scheme work better for borrowers.

The Department of Housing and the Housing Agency are working with all stakeholders to ensure that the actions set out in the Review are being effectively implemented to benefit a greater number of households.

The Housing Agency publishes, on a quarterly basis, detailed statistical information on the operation of the Mortgage-to-Rent scheme, including the number of completed transactions broken down by local authority area and by year.  This information is available on the Agency’s website at the following link:

https://www.housingagency.ie/our-services/housing-supply-services/mortgage-to-rent.aspx .