Since the crash many people lost their homes and employment. Yet, this still isn’t the end of a lot of peoples plight in Ireland. There is still an impending mortgage arrears crisis, as vulture funds seem to loom above the vulnerable seeking to reclaim their investments. Most of which will be earned off the struggles of working-class people, who are trying to cope with the fear of their homes being repossessed.

Since 2013, the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation (IMHO), a registered charity, has done deals for 8,000 people who were in debt with their respective banks. Some 90% of these people have even been able to stay in their homes. Many of the people who have availed of these deals and have contacted the IMHO have simply had no money to repay their debts.

Most of these people, through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs or suffered from reduced hours as their employers felt the effects of the recession and had to cut back on staff to remain operational. Some of these people have been so adversely affected by the recession they have developed mental health issues, have suffered family and marital breakdowns and even have gone as far as to physically hurt themselves to escape their financial hardships. When situations like this are occurring, banks are seemingly more welcoming and helpful to the vulture funds than the regular Irish citizen who has saved in their business and is then taking out the loans. So with this in mind, will there ever be a dignified solution to the problems these people face?

iCare Housing is a regulated not for profit Approved Housing Body that has been specifically set up to help families with unsustainable mortgages. If borrowers are due in court and facing repossession proceedings, then they should contact iCare. They will help those struggling with the complicated financial paperwork set out by the bank, before going and talking to the bank on behalf of them. When this occurs, any legal proceedings will be adjourned until further notice.

To avail of this opportunity, the borrower in question must be eligible for social housing and their own home must not exceed certain threshold values. These thresholds are €280,000 outside of Dublin and €365,000 in Dublin. iCare will then purchase their housing from the banks, currently only Permanent TSB (PTSB) AIB, EBS, and Haven have agreed to be part of the initiative. All have agreed to ‘confidential discounts above and beyond the normal mortgage-to-rent process.’

Following the purchase of the debt, the borrower will sign a 25-year tenancy and become a tenant of iCare housing. The bank will inform the borrower in writing of the discounted price iCare housing will pay for their home, and the figure is also contained in the borrower’s tenancy agreement. This price option will not change regardless of the current market value of the house. iCare will essentially mind their home while they get on their feet again and will offer the borrower the opportunity to buy their home back at any point during the 25-year tenancy.

Despite not agreeing to the deal that PTSB, AIB, EBS and Haven have set out with iCare, nearly all banks and vulture funds are participating in mortgage to rent schemes. Which shows that not all are preying on the vulnerable - cooperation is occurring. So be hopeful! There are options out there for you.

If you'd like to find out more information or find yourself in a tough situation dont hesitate to contact Irish Mortgage Holders on 01 8747610 or visit our website at mortgageholders.ie