Fine Gael Councillor John Browne has welcomed two recently announced measures aimed at helping people who are in difficulty with their mortgage or who have personal debts that they are struggling with or unable to pay.
Cllr Browne particularly welcomed the Government’s Mortgage to Rent scheme which will allow distressed property owners to relinquish their home but remain there paying an affordable rent. The ownership of the house will be transferred to a housing agency financed by a 70 per cent loan from the original mortgage lender with the remainder coming from the State, which will take a 30 per cent equity stake in the house.
A budget of €4.5 million has been allocated this year with further funding expected next year. Those who can avail of it are low-income families who otherwise would have qualified for social or local authority housing, with the limit on the value of the house set at €180,000 in Longford.
“This scheme is going to take pressure off a lot of people. As an accountant in practice, I am only too well aware of the difficulties people face on a daily basis and this scheme means that rather than lose their home to a bank they can sell it to the Council and continue to live in it,” Cllr Browne said.
“The rent that they will then have to pay, unlike their mortgage payments will be based on their ability to pay. While it is still a difficult option for people to have to take, it is positive in that they avoid the stress of being made homeless and their children do not have to be made to move home,” he added.
The new councillor was also particularly positive about the new Personal Insolvency Bill introduced by Minister Alan Shatter last week. “This is very good news. It is a means for people struggling with personal debts to get out from under them in a practical way without having to fight things out in court or have themselves declared bankrupt” he went on.
“This bill is just common sense,” he said. “I congratulate Minister Shatter on his courage in bringing in legislation that makes it possible for people who genuinely cannot pay their debts to be released from them in a dignified way.”
The Minister said he expected the Bill to become law by mid-November, but Cllr Browne urged people who are in personal debt difficulties to seek advice as early as possible about how to plan for getting the benefit of this law when it is in force.