Coronavirus: Three month payment break on local authority mortgages

Borrowers will not be charged interest for the period of the break

The Department of Housing said work has focused on ensuring a simplified application process for mortgage relief for those in financial difficulties. File photograph: PA

Homeowners with mortgages from their local authority will now be able to apply for a three-month payment break due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Minister for Housing has announced.

In mid-March, the heads of the State’s five banks agreed to provide three-month long payment breaks to individuals affected by Covid-19.

Minister Eoghan Murphy has confirmed that forbearance arrangements have now also been put in place for local authority mortgage products for borrowers who are "in need of it".

Borrowers will not be charged interest for the period of the break, meaning that no additional costs to the original home loan balance will arise for any individual who avails of these measures.

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The Department of Housing said work has focused on ensuring a simplified application process that can be accessed and processed quickly so that borrowers in distress can access this payment break quickly.

The break is available to those who have already faced mortgage difficulties due to the Covid-19 emergency and those who may encounter difficulties in the near future, the department added.

Mr Murphy said his department has also consulted with the Housing Finance Agency to ensure that any local authority that experiences cash flow difficulties will receive the necessary support.

“It is essential that local authorities are supported in providing essential services during these difficult times,” he said.

The Minister added that his department is continuing to work with the Department of Finance in relation to potential further measures that may be needed in the future.

Any local authority borrower facing difficulties due to Covid-19 is urged to contact the local authority in question as soon as possible, in particular, to access the application form and information that will be available on each local authorities’ website.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is Health Correspondent of The Irish Times