Saturday 29 August 2015

Home Owners Support Fund – Mortgage to Rent

The City Council's Housing Committee approved the council’s participation in the Mortgage to Rent scheme on 8th June 2015.    The council has now provided helpful additional information on how the scheme will operate :

Eligibility :    To be considered for the Home Owners’ Support Fund Scheme owners experiencing mortgage difficulties must have failed to reach agreement on arrears with their lender, obtained independent financial advice from CAB or local authority money advice centre and the value of their home must be no more than maximum levels set for Dundee.

For 2015/16 the values are:

1 bedroom - £70,000
2 bedroom - £80,000
3 bedroom - £100,000
4 bedroom - £150,000
5 bedroom - £185,000

The maximum level may be waived in instances of particular housing need such as disability.      

The house must be the principal home and the owner must have lived there for the previous 12 months. Owners must not have capital over £2,000 (£4,000 if they are over 60). Capital includes savings, assurance policies, redundancy, pension lump sum payments.

Making an application to the scheme  :   Having met with the independent financial adviser the owner must complete and submit an application to the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Government undertakes an initial assessment of eligibility under the scheme against the criteria outlined above.

The property is valued at current market value by a professional surveyor. This is the price that will be paid for the property.

The council can receive a repairs allowance up to £8,500, the allowance includes repairs to bring the property up to Scottish Housing Quality Standard as well as gas and electric checks.

The Home Owner Support Fund (HOSF) team at the Scottish Government sends the application to the participating landlords in the area, for Dundee these are: Dundee City Council (DCC), Sanctuary, Angus HA and Caledonia HA seeking expressions of interest in the property.

HOSF considers expressions of interest and decides on the preferred social landlord, if the landlord who previously owned the property expresses an interest, they will be the preferred landlord.    

Assessment by DCC   :    The council would apply its assessment criteria as outlined within the committee report. These are:

• Must fit Scottish Government funding and financial assessment criteria
• Be located in an area with significant need and demand (as evidenced by the Council’s waiting list) for social rented housing.
• Property size and type - priority will be houses providing family accommodation, wheelchair adapted housing and 1 bedroom flats; two bedroom flats may be considered in areas where there is scarcity of such social rented properties.
• Not re-acquiring ‘last in block’ factoring liabilities. 

The final decision on individual properties will be determined by the council based on financial viability and the property meeting the required criteria.  

If the property is eligible the council would receive property and contact details to complete an inspection of the property. 

DCC would submit the repairs survey and the HOSF team would then provide the council with details of the anticipated subsidy level.

After the HOSF team has received agreement from DCC to the subsidy level a formal offer would be issued to all relevant parties.

At date of entry (the date the Council takes ownership of the property), the tenant becomes a Scottish Secure Tenant of DCC.    

Further detailed information can be found here, including an information booklet entitled ‘Are you in danger of losing your home?’ which sets out detailed information for owners seeking assistance through the scheme.