New Mortgage to Rent scheme launched

Housing Minister Jan O'Sullivan

Housing Minister Jan O'Sullivan has launched a new scheme to allow low-income families who can no longer pay their mortgages to rent their own homes.

Some 60 families are currently participating in the Mortgage to Rent scheme, which allows mortgage holders with no realistic possibility of ever being able to make full repayments to continue to live in their home without the threat of repossession.

The State pays about 30% of the costs.

"In many cases they will have lost their jobs, they can't afford to pay their mortgage, and they're eligible for social housing so therefore they're on a relatively low income" Minister O'Sullivan said.

"What we want to offer those families - who are in real distress - is the opportunity to stay in their own home, stay in their own community, keep their children in the local school," she added.

Minister O'Sullivan said it could help prevent thousands of people from losing their homes.

"A voluntary housing association takes over the ownership of the house and rents it back to the family concerned, at the type of rent that that family would pay if they were in social housing generally - if they were in a local authority house or another kind of social housing," she said.

"They're paying a rent - in other words - at an affordable price for their income level."

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