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'Rent' option for housing victims

HOMEOWNERS who face repossession may be able to rent back their property from the State.

The proposal is part of a series of radical measures that are being considered by the Government to help tackle the housing debt crisis. People who face repossession may be able to rent their homes after they have lost ownership.

The social housing machinery of the State could be brought in to allow people stay in their homes after the houses or apartments are repossessed.

In addition, householders already in negative equity may be given the option of trading up if they can sustain a larger debt.

This means that people who sell a house or apartment and owe the lender money would be able to take out a second mortgage. But this would only happen if they could sustain the full amount of debt and would allow people who, until now, have been unable to trade up to buy a new home.

However, the downside would mean that they would be in negative equity from the moment they sold up.

These measures are being debated by a Government committee, chaired by the Department of Finance.

The committee is due to announce final measures at the end of this month.