Under the national mortgage-to-rent scheme, people who are having trouble paying their mortgage to a private lender can switch from owning their home to renting their home as social tenants of a housing association, which buys the home from the lender.
If you take up the mortgage-to-rent option, you will no longer own your home or have any financial interest in it.
New measures to support people in mortgage arrears, which were announced on 13 May 2015, include an expansion of the mortgage-to-rent scheme.
The national mortgage-to-rent scheme is for people whose mortgage is with a private lender. There is a separate mortgage-to-rent option for local authority borrowers in arrears.
For you to qualify for the national mortgage-to-rent scheme, your mortgage, home and household must meet detailed eligibility criteria, as follows:
|Type of property||Location||Maximum value|
|House||Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Wicklow, Louth, Cork and Galway||€350,000|
|Apartment or townhouse||Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Wicklow, Louth, Cork and Galway||€300,000|
|House||Elsewhere in the State||€250,000|
|Apartment or townhouse||Elsewhere in the State||€190,000|
You must get legal and financial advice before the mortgage-to-rent process can go ahead.
Your lender will pay up to €500 for legal advice.
If you wish, your lender will also pay €250 for you to get financial advice from an accountant on the Mortgage Arrears Information and Advice Service panel.
The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) can provide debt advice, as well as general information on the scheme.
Changing your status from owner to tenant of your home involves a complex set of legal and financial arrangements, all of which must be signed off before the transfer of property takes place.
When all of these arrangements have been agreed, including the purchase price of your home (see below) you voluntarily surrender possession of your home to your mortgage lender. The lender immediately sells your home to a housing association, who will then rent it to you. See ‘Housing associations’ below.
Before your home can be sold to the housing association, it must be valued independently and the lender and the housing association must agree a price. The price will be based on several factors, including the market valuation of the property and the cost of any necessary repairs. If the lender and the housing association cannot agree a price, the arrangement will not go ahead.
The proceeds from the sale of your home to the housing association will go towards your mortgage debt and you come to an arrangement with your lender for the remaining balance that you owe, if any. This remaining balance is now an unsecured debt. (A secured debt is a loan on which goods or property are available as security against non-payment – for example a housing mortgage, where you offer the property as security and it may be repossessed if you cannot pay the mortgage.)
You will no longer own your property but you can continue living in your home as a social housing tenant and you will have a tenancy agreement with the housing association. As with all sales of property since 1 January 2010, the date of sale, price and address of your home will be placed on the Residential Property Price Register, which is published by the Property Services Regulatory Authority.
If your financial situation improves, you will have an option to buy your home back from the housing association after 5 years.
A housing association is a registered charity and an independent not-for-profit organisation which has been approved to provide and manage social housing. Housing associations aim to provide housing for those who cannot meet their housing needs from their own resources at an affordable rent.
You will pay an affordable rent, based on your income. If your income increases the rent will increase but if your income falls then the rent payment will also reduce, in order to remain affordable.
In general, you must be eligible for social housing in order to become a housing association tenant. So, as noted in ‘Rules’ above, you must qualify for social housing in order to qualify for the mortgage-to-rent scheme. The assessment of suitability for social housing is carried out by local authorities. Your lender can provide an application form to apply to your local authority.
If your lender does not agree that you are suitable for the mortgage-to-rent scheme, you can appeal to the lender’s Appeals Committee under the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP).
If the local authority decides that you are not eligible for social housing support (which means that you cannot access the mortgage-to-rent scheme), you can appeal this decision through the local authority’s internal appeals system. If you are not happy with the outcome, you can contact the Ombudsman.
Where appropriate, your lender will offer you the opportunity to apply for the scheme and give you an application form for mortgage-to-rent. If you are interested, you give consent in writing to your lender to submit your details to a number of organisations involved in the scheme.
You then need to complete several steps:
The Housing Agency has published an updated Guide to the Mortgage to Rent Scheme (pdf).
Contact your mortgage lender to discuss your suitability for the mortgage-to-rent scheme.