Irish families whose homes have been repossessed may be allowed to stay in them in return for giving up ownership and renting it from the state, under new measures currently being considered to address the mortgage debt crisis.

The new proposals were suggested after Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan was accused of not acting quickly enough as thousands more Irish households fall behind.

Other options under consideration by the government and Irish financial institutions include allowing people in negative equity to trade up to a new home. But this possibility would depend on their ability to sustain their overall debt after selling their old home at a loss and carrying the previous mortgage 'hangover' with them.

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The number of Irish households in arrears of three months or more is expected to top 60,000 by the end of September, so there is growing pressure on the government to act decisively.

Minister Noonan  told the Irish Examiner he would wait for a government-appointed report at the end of the month before deciding what action to take on the mortgage debt situation.