Fianna Fáil Senator and Seanad Group Leader, Catherine Ardagh has said that the government must introduce a mandatory requirement for contractors to register with Revenue in order to assist first time buyers with qualifying for the Help-to-Buy grant.

The Help-to-Buy scheme introduced by the government was initially designed to help first time buyers meet tougher deposit requirements under Central Bank mortgage lending rules. Applications from first-time home buyers for financial support under the government’s measure opened earlier this month.

Figures provided by the Revenue Commissioners show that just 17 contractors or developers have registered with the scheme to date nationwide.

Speaking in the Seanad earlier this morning, Senator Ardagh said, “At a time when house prices and rents are fast increasing and while so many people are desperately trying to save for a deposit to buy their first home, I believe that more effort is needed to support prospective first time home buyers.

“Many first time-buyers I have engaged with have discovered that they are not eligible to qualify for the Help-to-Buy grant if they have approached a contractor that is not registered with Revenue. Therefore, first-time buyers are being penalised and deprived of the grant on this basis,” explained the Dublin based Senator.

“The published criterion for developers to register is not particularly onerous that developers should be deterred from their obligation to register to the scheme. There is no reasonable rationale behind the punitive nature of this current legislation.

“I believe that the only acceptable solution is to ensure mandatory registration with Revenue is urgently introduced so that first time buyers who find a suitable property to their needs, are in the position to purchase it and avail of the grant. I am calling on the Housing Minister Simon Coveney and also on Minister Noonan to make registration mandatory for all contractors,” concluded Senator Ardagh.