Hope for those in mortgage arrears in Leitrim

Scheme wants to deal with families in trouble

Leitrim Observer reporter

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Hope for those in mortgage arrears in Leitrim

Mortgage to Rent

Hundreds of Leitrim householders in unsustainable mortgage arrears and at risk of losing their homes are being given fresh hope of a solution to their problems.

Central Bank figures for Leitrim show over 270 family home loans in arrears for two years or more, while 10 Mortgage to Rent cases have either been completed or are being actively progressed, according to figures just released by The Housing Agency.

The Government’s Mortgage to Rent scheme aims to keep homeowners with unsustainable debt in their current properties debt-free as long-term tenants of their local authority.

A recent rise in eligibility values in the county to €305,000, combined with an increased appetite from lenders to work with the scheme, could see Mortgage to Rent engagements dramatically increase in the coming months.

Lenders and funds are now showing a greater willingness to use the Mortgage to Rent scheme as an alternative to repossessing family homes, according to a prominent mortgage expert.

“My experience since Home For Life began operating last year is that both lenders and funds want to find workable solutions to mortgage arrears once and for all,” said Paul Cunningham, CEO of Home For Life, the only Government-approved private Mortgage to Rent operator.

“This means they want to do a deal with families in trouble in Leitrim and move on. 

“What we are witnessing here are changes which very much favour the Leitrim householder.

“The Government has shown it is interested in developing the scheme by widening the eligibility bands by €30,000 while banks and funds have made it clear they prefer to see a solution where the householder can stay in their home paying an income-based rent.

“Neither the lenders nor the funds want to go down the repossession route and see Mortgage to Rent as playing a significant role in avoiding such outcomes.” 

Mr Cunningham estimates that a large percentage of Leitrim families deemed to be in serious arrears of two years or more could use the Mortgage to Rent route to solve their unsatisfactory mortgage situation. 

“Our engagement with home-dwellers in mortgage distress has doubled over the past year, and the growing success of the scheme nationally is in contrast to the tidal wave of repossessions that doomsayers had been predicting. 

“I can now see a situation arising where thousands of cases can be solved nationally, including many in Leitrim.

“However, for that to happen, politicians locally and nationally must make themselves more aware of the potential of the scheme.” 

Mr Cunningham appealed to families to grasp this opportunity by engaging with their lender, their local MABS officer or a Mortgage to Rent provider. 

“Society has a problem when we have 28,000 families in serious mortgage arrears, where many of them could potentially find a way out of this misery through Mortgage to Rent.”