How does the Housing Assistance Payment work?
The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a form of social housing support for people with a long-term housing need. It is administered by local authorities and will eventually replace long-term Rent Supplement. You must be on the local authority’s housing list (which means that you qualify for social housing support) to be eligible for HAP.
HAP is being introduced in phases. From March 2017 the final phase will bring it fully into operation in the last three local authority areas – all in Dublin.
Under the HAP scheme, you find your own private rented accommodation. Although the local authority administers HAP, you will not be a local authority tenant. The rental agreement will be between yourself and the landlord. This means that you will have certain rights and obligations, as will your landlord.
The rent must be within the HAP rent limits, which are based on your household size and the rental market in your area. Additional flexibility is provided where a household cannot find suitable accommodation within the HAP rent limits. The Homeless HAP Pilot in Dublin offers further flexibility for homeless people. The local authority will pay your landlord directly and you will pay a differential rent to the local authority. This means that the amount of rent is based on your income and your ability to pay. If you are getting a social welfare payment at a post office, you must pay the local authority through the Household Budget Scheme.
If you take up a job or increase your working hours, you will still be eligible for HAP, provided that you meet the other conditions of the scheme. People who are on the housing list and currently getting Rent Supplement will be transferred to HAP on a phased basis. If you are on the housing list, living in a HAP area and getting Rent Supplement, you can now apply for HAP. Detailed booklets and other information about HAP are available on housing.gov.ie.
Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.
Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon
Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000