herald

Sunday 19 November 2017

First family to benefit from house debt deal

A Dublin family that was just days away from eviction is set to become the first in the country to benefit from a new deal that will see them rent their home instead.

In the first deal of its kind in Ireland, subprime lender GE Money is to write off around €140,000 on the mortgage of the west Dublin family house and sell it to a housing charity, Cluid, who will then rent it back to the family.

The family, who do not want to be named, have three children in primary and secondary schools.

The father of the family lost his job in construction, while the wife has a low-paid job.

They built up around two years of arrears on their mortgage.

GE Money, which no longer offers loans in this market, had got an order to repossess the house in the High Court.

The lender had given the family a loan of €240,000 in 2006, in an offer which included the mortgage and other debts using the house as security.

But the family ran up arrears of around €30,000 and was no longer able to meet the payments -- which were around €1,500 a month -- once the husband lost his job.

The deal was first proposed by the New Beginning advocacy group made up of lawyers who represent people in trouble with mortgage debt.

It approached the Department of Environment and got the support for the scheme from Housing Minister Jan O'Sullivan.

Ross Maguire of New Beginnings said there was still some haggling over the purchase price to be paid by Cluid, but it was likely to be around €100,000.

New Beginnings has pressed for an option to be put into the deal to allow the family to repurchase the house some time in the future if their circumstances change.

"This is a welcome development. At least it shows that when someone is in real difficulty and at the end of the line, and they genuinely can't pay, there are some options," said housing minister Jan O'Sullivan.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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