Significant overhaul of Mortgage to Rent Scheme needed – McGrath

Published on: 10 December 2018

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance, Michael McGrath TD has expressed his deep frustration with the Government’s failure to reform the Mortgage to Rent Scheme.

Commenting Deputy McGrath said, “Mortgage to Rent was launched in 2012 and was lauded as a significant part of the solution to the mortgage arrears crisis. Yet here we are some six years later and fewer than 400 transactions have been completed. When compared to the more than 28,000 family home mortgages in arrears for over two years, this is, by any standard, a paltry figure.

“In February 2017, then Minister for Housing Simon Coveney announced a revamp of the Mortgage to Rent scheme and promised that it would be made available to a far greater number of people. Since then, however, only 121 transactions have been completed. In that same period, just 144 applications were either terminated or deemed ineligible.

“This is yet another example of Fine Gael promising major reform and delivering precious little. Even if the 912 active applications were completed, the overall figures are still minute when compared to the levels of mortgages in arrears over two years. They are also minuscule when compared to the number of mortgages been sold off. Last week, we saw Permanent TSB use a securitisation model to remove mortgages from their balance sheet. Interestingly, Pepper who will take ownership of these mortgages has utilised Mortgage to Rent more than any other lender.

“Clearly, the Mortgage to Rent Scheme is a bureaucratic nightmare as over 1,000 applications have been withdrawn. In addition, the issue with the residual on the loan after the sale of the home needs to be resolved and the rules surrounding who qualifies for the Mortgage to Rent Scheme need to be reviewed.

“By far and away the biggest issue is credit. It is extremely frustrating that the Government has given the cold shoulder to the Credit Union movement’s offer to assist in making more credit available.

“The personal insolvency regime is not working as well as it could be and must be reformed. Out of the near 6,000 protective certificates issued since 2013, nearly 50% have ended without a ‘Yes’ vote from the creditors. Given this and the failure of the Mortgage to Rent Scheme, there is little by way of solutions for the tens of thousands of people who still find themselves in deep mortgage arrears.

“Fianna Fáil has previously brought forward legislation that would establish a Mortgage Resolution Office yet it has been sitting with the Taoiseach for months awaiting a money message. If Fine Gael is serious about resolving the legacy arrears crisis, they would permit this Bill to go forward to Committee Stage and also put the Mortgage to Rent Scheme on a statutory footing,” concluded McGrath.

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