RTÉ News has seen details of radical new measures under consideration by Government to help tackle the housing debt crisis.

People facing repossession may be able to rent their homes from the State after they have lost ownership of the properties.

Consideration is also being given to measures to allow people who are already in negative equity to trade up if they can sustain a larger debt.

A Government committee chaired by the Department of Finance has been working on a number of measures to deal with mortgage debt.

It is considering using the social housing machinery of the State to help.

This could allow people stay in their homes after the houses or apartments were repossessed. As they would no longer own their home, they then would rent it - possibly from the State itself.

Another issue under consideration are steps to help people who are in negative equity but want to move home.

Under this option people who sell a house or apartment and owe the bank money would be able to take out a second mortgage.

That would only happen if they could sustain the full amount of debt.

This would allow people to trade upwards who until now had not been able to trade up, to buy a new home.

However, they would be in negative equity from the moment they purchase.

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

Latest figures from the Central Bank show that there are more than 55,000 mortgages in arrears around the country.

Permanent TSB sees surge in mortgage arrears

Permanent TSB results show it has experienced a significant surge in mortgage arrears in the first six months of the year.

Homeloans in arrears of over 90 days rose from 6.8% to 8.8%.

Earlier, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan reiterated that banks have enough capital to write off some mortgage debt.

He said that Ireland did not have a culture of repossessions and that the Government would do all it could to ease the burden of mortgage repayments on families.