Hundreds of Families Will be Made Homeless Before Christmas, Charity Warns
Phoenix Project Seeks Urgent Review of Mortgage-to-Rent Scheme
The head of a national charity has called on the Government to urgently re-assess the mortgage-to-rent scheme to prevent hundreds of families having their homes re-possesed and being made homeless ahead of Christmas.
John McGrath, chairman of the Phoenix Project, said that there were 2,000 cases relating to mortgage arrears being heard in the courts in December.
The Phoenix Project is an independent national charity that works on behalf of borrowers-in-arrears to save their homes from repossession. It provides free advice and help to borrowers with mortgage arrears and relies on private donations to provide its free service to clients. It receives no State funding and is not connected to banks or financial institutions.
Mr McGrath said that of these 2,000 court cases, at least 10% would result in rulings that would see family homes being repossessed.
“These cases have already been adjourned on numerous occassions and the courts will not put them off any more,” Mr McGrath said.
“There are another 2,300 such cases listed for the courts in January and there will be more over the coming months. The time has run out for the 40,000 mortgages that are two year or more in arrears,” he added.
Mr McGrath pointed out that a wave of house repossessions over the coming months coincided with increases in house prices across the country and that financial institutions would seek to take advantage of this trend.
“Prices nationally have rise by 7.9% over the past year and by 17% in the Midlands. This means that a lot of distressed borrowers are in positive equity and the banks view it as an opportunity to clean up their balance sheets,” Mr McGrath said.
To address this situation, the Phoenix Project has called on the Government to urgently re-assess the parameters of the mortgage-to-rent scheme.
Under this scheme, those in mortgage arrears can stay in their homes. However, the scheme is only eligible to those in arrears who earn less than the average industrial wage.
Mr McGrath said that the scheme should be extended to borrowers in arrears who earn 50,000 euro or less.
“We need an immediate expansion of the mortgage to rent scheme. The existing parameters need to be urgently extended. It doesn’t matter if it is a private or public schem.
“Over the next month, it looks likely that hundreds of families will have their homes taken from them. There is 97% occupancy hotels and there is no supply in the rental market. These families will have nowhere to go, so the Government had to act fast,” Mr Grath warned.