Rebuilding Ireland home loans on hold in Laois

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Laois County Council says Rebuilding Ireland home loan approvals are awaiting government guidance.

Laois County Council says Rebuilding Ireland home loan approvals are awaiting government guidance.

Laois County Council is still accepting Rebuilding Ireland home loan applications, but it is waiting on government guidance to approve further loans.

The scheme for first time buyers who have failed to get mortgage approval from banks, was launched nationwide a year ago. However it has already hit its three year target of 1,000 loans nationwide, and is understood to be on hold by the Department of Public Expenditure.

The scheme gives 90% mortgages worth up to €320,000 in the counties Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow, and €250,000 in the rest of the country (including Laois).

Single applicant’s income must be less than €50,000. Joint applicants’ combined income must be less than €75,000.

So far in Laois, 44 applications have been approved, 35 were turned down and another 44 are awaiting a decision from the council.

Laois County Council's housing officer Michael Rainey has confirmed to the Leinster Express that they are awaiting further advice, but are still taking applications from people.

"Laois County Council is still accepting Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan applications at this time.  Since the scheme has commenced 44 Rebuilding Ireland Home Loans have been approved. We are currently awaiting guidance from the Dept. of Housing Planning and Local Government with regard to the issuing of further loan approvals," he said on Friday March 8.

Speaking at the February council meeting, Mr Rainey had explained why some were turned down.

“We are approving more than we are declining. The normal reasons are there would be a credit issue in the past, or they can’t pay back a loan, or they have lots of loans already. Those are the three main reasons why people fail. We have to make sure people have the capacity to pay back loans that we are responsible for giving out,” he said.

Cllr Padraig Fleming said that applicants who move back into their parents’ homes to save for a deposit for a council home loan are being turned down, because they have no history of paying rent.

“You can have a very big deposit, but if you’re not renting, paying €600 a month it goes against you. I have people who didn’t get approval because they are living at home,” he said.

At the meeting, Cllr Mary Sweeney had tabled a motion asking for the latest figures for Laois.

She wanted applicants to be given help.

“How can we assist people so that they are securing approval? I know your staff are doing everything they can. I hope we can improve on the record,” she said.

People can re-apply when they are refused, Mr Rainey said.

“They might not have been employed long enough, or maybe after they can show a longer period of sustainable savings,” he said.

Applications are first sent to a central office in Dublin for a credit check, and then sent back to Laois County Council with a recommendation for acceptance or refusal, with the council free to make a final decision.

Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald suggests that people should be able to meet council staff before they apply.

“They should nearly have a pre-planning meeting. The window between the lowest and the highest income threshold is very limited,” she said.

Cllr Fleming said that the council does offer advice.

“If people come and say they are looking for a loan, you can give them parameters, and they can go away for a year and clear their loans. The council is very sensitive to people and do offer advice. I’ve had a few difficult cases lately and after four or five months, they did get better,” he said.