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Further information

You can contact the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) on 0761 07 2000

National mortgage-to-rent scheme


Under the national mortgage-to-rent scheme, people who are having trouble paying their mortgages to private lenders can switch from owning their home to renting their home as social tenants of a housing association, which buys the home from the lender.

If you take up the mortgage-to-rent option, you will no longer own your home or have any financial interest in it.

A mortgage-to-rent option for local authority borrowers in arrears is also in operation.

New measures to support people in mortgage arrears, which were announced on 13 May 2015, include an expansion of the mortgage-to-rent scheme.

Read more in this press release.


The national mortgage-to-rent scheme is for people who have mortgages with private lenders, such as banks or building societies.

For you to qualify for this scheme:

  • You must have been involved in the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) with your lender and agree that you can no longer afford to pay your mortgage loan now or in the future
  • You must own the property you live in, with a current market value of less than €220,000 in the Dublin area or less than €180,000 in the rest of the State
  • Your property must be in good condition, must be in a suitable location and must suit your needs
  • You must not own any other property or have assets in excess of €20,000.
  • You must have a long-term right to remain in the State (pdf)

You must also qualify for social housing from your local authority. As part of this requirement, your net household income must not exceed €25,000, €30,000 or €35,000 a year, depending on which part of the State you live in. The income limits for different locations are in this table (pdf). Net household income is your household income after taxes and social insurance have been taken off. There are some additional allowances for children.

Read more about qualifying for social housing.

Getting advice

You must get legal and financial advice before the mortgage-to-rent process can go ahead.

Your lender will pay up to €500 for legal advice.

If you wish, your lender will also pay €250 for you to get financial advice from an accountant on the Mortgage Arrears Information and Advice Service panel.

The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) can provide debt advice.

How it works

Changing your status from owner to tenant of your home involves a complex set of legal and financial arrangements, all of which must be signed off before the transfer of property takes place.

When all of these arrangements have been agreed, including the purchase price of your home (see below) you voluntarily surrender possession of your home to your mortgage lender. The lender immediately sells your home to a housing association, who will then rent it to you. See ‘Housing associations’ below.

Purchase price of your home

Before your home can be sold to the housing association, it must be valued independently and the lender and the housing association must agree a price. The price will be based on several factors, including the market valuation of the property and the cost of any necessary repairs. If the lender and the housing association cannot agree a price, the arrangement will not go ahead.

After the sale

The proceeds from the sale of your home to the housing association will go towards your mortgage debt and you come to an arrangement with your lender for the remaining balance that you owe, if any. This remaining balance is now an unsecured debt. (A secured debt is a loan on which goods or property are available as security against non-payment – for example a housing mortgage, where you offer the property as security and it may be repossessed if you cannot pay the mortgage.)

You will no longer own your property but you can continue living in your home as a social housing tenant and you will have a tenancy agreement with the housing association. As with all sales of property since 1 January 2010, the date of sale, price and address of your home will be placed on the Residential Property Price Register, which is published by the Property Services Regulatory Authority.

If your financial situation improves, there will be an option to buy the home back from the housing association after a period of 5 years.

Housing associations

A housing association is a registered charity and an independent not-for-profit organisation which has been approved to provide and manage social housing. Housing associations aim to provide housing for those who cannot meet their housing needs from their own resources at an affordable rent.

You will pay a rent based on your income. If your income increases the rent will increase but if your income falls then the rent payment will also reduce. In this way the rent paid remains affordable.

You must be eligible for social housing in order to become a housing association tenant. The assessment of suitability for social housing is carried out by local authorities. Your lender can provide an application form to apply to your local authority.


If your lender does not agree that you are suitable for the mortgage-to-rent scheme, you can appeal to the lender’s Appeals Committee under the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP).

How to apply

Where appropriate, your lender will offer you the opportunity to apply for the scheme and give you an application form for mortgage-to-rent. If you are interested, you give consent in writing to your lender to submit your details to a number of organisations involved in the scheme.

You then need to do the following:

  1. You agree to surrender ownership of your home in exchange for a tenancy agreement with a housing association.
  2. You complete your Mortgage to Rent application form and a Social Housing Support application form and give them to your local authority along with all the required documentation, including the Letter of Offer to Participate in the Mortgage to Rent Scheme (issued to you by your lender).

The Housing Agency has published a Guide to the Mortgage to Rent Scheme (pdf).

Where to apply

Contact your mortgage lender to discuss your suitability for the mortgage-to-rent scheme.

Last edited: 14/05/2015