Reports on housing grants, unfinished estates and mortgage to rent

Some reports from today’s Athy area committee:

Councillor Wall
Can the council update its members on the current position with the housing aid and housing adaption grants?

Report: Applications for the Housing Aid for Older People Scheme, Housing Adaptation Grant for Older People and People with a Disability and Mobility Aids Grants are now being accepted
Eligible applicants will be prioritised in accordance with the following criteria which are in line with Housing Circular 12/2014 and S.I. No. 104 of 2014, effective from 27/02/2014:
– Medical needs of the applicant and the urgency and necessity of the identified works – this should not be confused with the Housing Adaptation Grant or Mobility Aids Grant where specific illness requires categorization.
– Special consideration will be given to applicants who require essential repairs or improvement works as a matter of urgency, e.g. individuals in hospital who require works to be completed in order to facilitate the continuance of their care in their home or to facilitate their direct return home.
– Essential works such as re-roofing, re-wiring, central heating, structural repairs/improvements will receive high priority.
– Other works such as repairs to/replacement of some/all windows and doors, radon remediation; dry lining (where no other scheme exists) will be considered on a case by case basis and in the context of available funding.

Councillor Wall
That the council confirm the plans that are in place to address the outstanding issues in unfinished estates throughout South Kildare and in the Athy area in general and have the council set aside funds and applied for assistance to Central Government.

Report: It is the responsibility of the developer of each of these estates, not the council to address any outstanding issues in unfinished housing estates and to ensure that these estates are maintained satisfactorily until they are formally taken in charge by the council. The council has engaged with all developers or sureties where requested, to agree Site Resolution Plans (SRP). The bonds submitted by the developer as a requirement of planning permission are the only potential source of funding which the council can access if necessary to facilitate satisfactory completion of these developments.
The government has set up a Special Resolution Fund (SRF) to assist in addressing the legacy of unfinished housing developments but this fund is intended to encourage the resolution of the remaining unfinished housing developments in the National Housing Survey 2013 and particularly those estates entitled to a waiver from the requirement to pay the Local Property Tax. The SRF is aimed at those developments unlikely to be resolved in the normal way through solely develop/owner/funder action because of the presence of specific financial barriers. DOECLG has stated specifically that the SRF will not replace the predominantly developer/funder/receiver driven process. Kildare County Council has applied for funds to address issues in Gallows Hill, Athy and Millbrook, Timolin and is awaiting a response from DOECLG in this regard.

Motion 21.Councillor Wall
That the council confirm if the mortgage to rent scheme will be available to those in receipt of housing loans from them who are experiencing problems with their repayments.

Report: Following the introduction of a Mortgage to Rent scheme on a pilot basis in two local authorities, the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government has now extended the scheme to all local authorities. The scheme will now be available to those who have housing loans with Kildare County Council in cases where the borrowers are experiencing financial difficulties in repaying their loan but subject to a number of criteria and also subject to the availability of funding under the Social Housing Investment Programme (SHIP).
In order to be considered suitable for consideration under the Mortgage to Rent scheme, a borrower will need to:
1) Be unable to make the repayments on the Mortgage Loan. The Arrears Support Unit will have determined that this situation is unlikely to change in the future and that there is no other sustainable solution available to the borrower.
2) Must be engaging with the Arrears Support Unit.
3) Must be in, or have completed, the MARP with the Arrears Support Unit.
4) Must be in negative equity.
5) Must be the sole property of the borrower – borrower must not own any other property in Ireland or abroad.
6) Must be suitable to the borrower/household needs, i.e. not over or under- accommodated, in accordance with Local Authority guidelines. The issue of stock management and demand for particular property types is an issue for individual Local Authorities. In the event that a Local Authority can demonstrate, if requested, that the purchase of a property where a household is under or over accommodated results in the delivery of a property type that is in demand they may proceed to purchase the property under the scheme. It would be expected, however, that the under or over accommodated household would be appropriately
accommodated in another property and that the purchased property would be used to deal with the housing need in the area.
7) Must be the primary property of residence for the borrower.
8) Must be of a value no more than €220,000 in the Greater Dublin area and no more than €180,000 in the rest of the country.
9) Household
• Must be eligible for Social Housing Support from the Local Authority.
• Must have a net household income that does not exceed €25,000*, €30,000* or €35,000* a year, depending on where in the country the property is located (net household income is the household income after taxes and social insurance (PRSI) have been taken off). (*Additional allowances for children will apply).
• Must not have capital assets worth in excess of €20,000.
• Must have a long-term right to remain in Ireland.
It will be very important to remember that there are some very important aspects included in the scheme details including the fact that –
• the operation of the scheme is subject to the availability of SHIP funding,
• the borrower is not in accommodation which is deemed to be either greater than or
less than their requirements as per point 6 above.
• as is the case with all aspects of the M.A.R.P. process, where there are joint borrowers involved, both borrowers must be in agreement in order to avail of the Mortgage to Rent scheme.
• in addition to the differential rent that the tenant will be charged, he/she also agrees to repay the residual debt at 25% of the differential rent payable over a 15 year period. The Residual Debt is calculated as the outstanding amount on the Mortgage Loan (including arrears) minus the Property Ownership Transfer Price. (E.G. rent = €80, residual debt 25% = €20, total weekly payment due = €100)
• the property must be in reasonable structural condition and must be in compliance with all planning statutes and regulations.

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