Pictured at the recent workshop in Letterkenny are l-r, Stephen Curtis, Head of Operations at HFL, Liz Wilson and Gerry Murray of MABS Letterkenny and Paul Carr of Market House Insolvency Services Ltd
More than 1,100 distressed mortgage holders in Donegal are being offered a solution thanks to an innovative State-backed finance scheme, a workshop organised by Paul Carr of Market House Insolvency Services Ltd. heard last week at the Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny.
New figures from the Central Bank’s Long-Term Mortgage Arrears in Ireland Report state that 1,129 households in Donegal are in mortgage arrears for over two years while over 870 of those have been in arrears for at least five years.
Despite the scale of the repayment problem by mortgage holders, figures from the Department of Housing show that not one household in the county availed of the Government’s Mortgage To Rent scheme.
A Government-approved mortgage to rent provider Home For Life (HFL) is spearheading a drive to enable mortgage holders in unsustainable debt to stay in their current homes debt-free as long-term tenants of their local authority.
Speaking at the event, organised by Market House Insolvency Services Ltd, Stephen Curtis, Head of Operations at HFL say that there is a strong possibility that they can come up with a solution in many cases of serious mortgage arrears.
The company works with homeowners, lenders and the local authority to keep unsustainable mortgage holders in their current homes, avoiding upheaval for families.
Under the scheme, a property is sold to Home For Life and then leased back to the State through the local authority which, in turn, sublets the house or apartment back to the homeowner.
The homeowner pays an affordable income-based rent to their local authority.
“I was surprised to find that of the 1,129 cases in Donegal, almost none found a solution through mortgage to rent,” said Stephen Curtis.
According to Mr. Curtis, the biggest challenge in the old Mortgage To Rent scheme up to recently was the delays in getting individual cases over the line.
“However, we have now reduced the timeline in dealing with all documentation and agencies so that a case can be completed normally within six months,” he said.
HFL works with all banks and funds and can facilitate properties irrespective of location or condition.
Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Housing and Urban Development Damien English described the emergence of Home For Life into the market as “a significant step towards a scaling of Mortgage to Rent to meet the needs of more borrowers in mortgage distress.”