Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)
Table of Contents
The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a social housing support administered by local authorities. HAP will replace Rent Supplement for those with a long-term housing need who qualify for social housing support. Under the HAP scheme, responsibility for the provision of rental assistance to those with a long-term housing need is transferring to Local Authorities.
HAP has been designed to simplify the current system of housing supports, and it allows households that get full-time employment to remain in the scheme. If you are eligible and approved for HAP, your local authority will pay your monthly rent directly to your landlord on your behalf. In return, you pay a contribution towards your rent to the local authority.
This will be a ‘differential rent’ meaning that it is based on your household weekly income in the same way differential rents are charged to tenants in local authority housing.
To be eligible for HAP, you must first apply for and be approved for social housing support by your local authority. If your household is already on your local authority’s housing list, you will be eligible for HAP. If you are on your local authority’s housing list and currently in receipt of Rent Supplement, you will be eligible for HAP.
Rent Supplement will still be available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection for people who do not qualify for social housing support – for example, someone who is temporarily unemployed. Normally, you need to show that you have been renting in the private sector for at least six months of the previous year and that you could afford your rent at the beginning of the tenancy.
You may also qualify if you have received Rent Supplement at any time during the 12 months before applying.
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Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)
- The HAP scheme
- HAP and COVID-19
- Who can get the HAP payment?
- How the HAP scheme works
- HAP rent limits
- Homeless HAP
- When you are a HAP tenant
- How to apply
The HAP scheme
The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a form of social housing support for people who have a long-term housing need. HAP is available in all local authority areas and will eventually replace long-term Rent Supplement.
The scheme is administered by the local authorities, who pay the landlords directly. The rent being charged for the accommodation must be within the limits for the household type in that local authority’s area – see ‘HAP rent limits’ below. Tenants pay a weekly HAP rent contribution to the local authority, based on their income and ability to pay. Under the HAP scheme you can take up full-time employment and keep your housing support.
There is detailed information about HAP on hap.ie, including booklets for landlords (pdf) and tenants (pdf), along with a general information leaflet (pdf).
HAP and COVID-19
If you are a HAP tenant and you do not experience any change in your financial circumstances as a result of COVID-19, HAP payments will continue to be made to your landlord and your differential rent will continue to be collected.
If you are a HAP tenant and you do experience a change in financial circumstances during the pandemic, you should contact the DSP and apply for the relevant income supports at MyWelfare.ie. Then you should contact your local authority and any differential rent arrears that accumulate will be re-assessed and rectified, as appropriate, by your local authority. This will not affect your HAP payment to your landlord.
Read more about HAP and COVID-19 and Renting and COVID-19.
Who can get the HAP payment?
You must be on the local authority’s housing list – which means that you qualify for social housing support. See our document on applying for local authority/social housing for details of assessment for social housing support. You cannot transfer from any other form of social housing to HAP. However, you may be asked to transfer from Rent Supplement to HAP – see ‘How to apply’ below.
How the HAP scheme works
Under HAP you must find your own private rented accommodation within the HAP rent limits - the local authority will not source it for you. You cannot be discriminated against when renting because you are getting certain payments, including HAP, so landlords cannot state when advertising accommodation that HAP is not accepted.
The local authority pays the landlord and you make a weekly rent contribution to the local authority, see ‘When you are a HAP tenant’ below. However, you will not be a local authority tenant. The rental agreement will be between yourself and the private landlord and your tenancy will be covered by residential tenancies legislation. This means that you will have certain rights and obligations, as will your landlord. Your tenancy must be registered with the Residential Tenancies Board.
You may be entitled to claim HAP if you are sharing accommodation with your landlord. If you are renting a self-contained flat or apartment in your landlord’s home, the residential tenancies legislation applies to your tenancy and your landlord must register with the RTB. However, if you are renting a room in your landlord’s home, your tenancy is not covered by the legislation and your landlord does not have to register with the RTB.
HAP rent limits
In general, the rent must be within the prescribed HAP rent limits for your household size and the area you live in. However, flexibility of up to 20% may be provided, on a case-by-case basis, where a household cannot find suitable accommodation within these limits. There is also additional flexibility, on a case-by-case basis, for eligible homeless households in the Dublin region, see Homeless HAP below.
This table shows the maximum monthly rent limits allowable in each local authority area for different types of household. If you have 4 or more children in your household you should contact your local authority to discuss your HAP rate.
|Local authority||1 adult in shared accommodation||Couple in shared accommodation||1 adult||Couple||Couple or 1 adult with 1 child||Couple or 1 adult with 2 children||Couple or 1 adult with 3 children|
|Carlow County Council||€270||€290||€440||€510||€570||€600||€630|
|Cavan County Council||€190||€220||€380||€420||€450||€470||€490|
|Clare County Council||€220||€240||€360||€400||€480||€515||€550|
|Cork City Council||€300||€330||€550||€650||€900||€925||€950|
|Cork County Council||€300||€330||€550||€650||€900||€925||€950|
|Donegal County Council||€200||€230||€340||€370||€410||€470||€520|
|Dublin City Council||€430||€500||€660||€900||€1,250||€1,275||€1,300|
|Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council||€430||€500||€660||€900||€1,250||€1,275||€1,300|
|Fingal County Council||€430||€500||€660||€900||€1,250||€1,275||€1,300|
|Galway City Council||€330||€360||€575||€650||€850||€875||€900|
|Galway County Council||€330||€360||€575||€650||€850||€875||€900|
|Kerry County Council||€200||€230||€380||€410||€525||€550||€575|
|Kildare County Council||€350||€400||€575||€750||€975||€1,050||€1,100|
|Kilkenny County Council||€230||€270||€480||€530||€630||€660||€690|
|Laois County Council||€240||€280||€420||€433||€580||€610||€630|
|Leitrim County Council||€200||€220||€340||€370||€450||€475||€500|
|Limerick City and County Council||€270||€300||€420||€450||€650||€700||€750|
|Longford County Council||€180||€200||€330||€350||€400||€425||€450|
|Louth County Council||€310||€350||€575||€650||€975||€1,050||€1,100|
|Mayo County Council||€200||€220||€390||€410||€480||€500||€520|
|Meath County Council||€310||€350||€575||€700||€975||€1,050||€1,100|
|Monaghan County Council||€200||€220||€330||€390||€500||€515||€530|
|Offaly County Council||€210||€230||€380||€435||€550||€575||€600|
|Roscommon County Council||€240||€260||€360||€390||€500||€525||€550|
|Sligo County Council||€220||€250||€460||€490||€550||€575||€600|
|South Dublin County Council||€430||€500||€660||€900||€1,250||€1,275||€1,300|
|Tipperary County Council||€210||€230||€380||€420||€525||€560||€600|
|Waterford City and County Council||€240||€270||€430||€450||€550||€575||€600|
|Westmeath County Council||€220||€240||€450||€470||€600||€625||€650|
|Wexford County Council||€280||€300||€420||€433||€530||€565||€600|
|Wicklow County Council||€370||€410||€660||€900||€1,150||€1,200||€1,250|
In order to have the local authority pay your rent directly to your landlord, you must meet the following conditions:
- You must pay your weekly rent contribution to the local authority. If you do not pay this rent contribution, HAP payments to your landlord will be stopped or suspended.
- You, or any member of your household, must not engage in antisocial behaviour.
- Your accommodation must meet the standards for rented accommodation. Your local authority will carry out an inspection to make sure the property meets these standards. This inspection will happen within eight months from the time the first HAP payment is made to your landlord.
- Your landlord must be tax compliant – that is, the landlord’s tax affairs must be in order and they must be able to supply a current tax clearance cert to the local authority.
Your local authority may not approve a HAP application if the accommodation is not suitable for your household’s needs. You should also note that your local authority can decide not to make HAP payments in certain circumstances – for example, they could stop payments if a member of your household is engaged in antisocial behaviour.
Under the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), it is up to the tenant to find accommodation for rent in the private rented sector. This accommodation must be within the HAP rent limits, which are based on the size of your household and the rental market in your area. Your local authority will let you know what the rent limits are.
The local authority will pay the rent directly to the landlord on behalf of the tenant. This is subject to certain conditions, including that you pay a rent contribution to your local authority. The tenancy will be covered under the terms of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (RTA). This means that the tenancy agreement is, or will be, between the tenant and the landlord – the local authority will not be the landlord.
The landlord is the person the tenant makes the rental agreement with and who the local authority pays the rent to. In addition, under the RTA, the landlord must register the tenancy with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).
How to Apply
Once you are qualified for social housing support, you are eligible to apply for HAP. If you are already on your local authority’s housing list, you can ask for the HAP application form and find your own accommodation.
The HAP application form only needs to be filled in after you have found accommodation that suits you. This could be your existing accommodation if you are in receipt of Rent Supplement. If this is the case, you need to talk to your landlord as they need to agree to the terms and conditions of the HAP scheme.
If you have been receiving Rent Supplement for a significant period of time, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection may ask you to contact your local authority about your social housing support qualification and applying for HAP.
Working and HAP
Under HAP, you are allowed to work full time and continue to benefit from Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). Payments to your landlord will continue, but the amount of rent contribution you pay to your local authority will increase in accordance with your income, similar to the Differential Rent Scheme operated by the local authorities.
Local Authority Housing List
Once you are receiving HAP, your housing needs are met and you will be removed from the local authority’s housing list. However, you will be able to apply for transfer to other forms of social housing, for example a local authority house.
When you are approved for HAP, you will receive a letter and a form to apply for a transfer from your local authority. If you apply for a transfer within two weeks of the date of the letter, any time you spent on the housing list before you entered HAP will be taken into account when your local authority considers your application.
This means that you can be placed on your local authority’s transfer list at the point you left the housing list. In other words, you do not have to start from scratch. You can apply for transfer at a later date too, but your previous waiting time on the housing list will not count.
Once you have been approved for HAP, you will be expected to stay in the same property for at least two years. However, you may be able to apply for a new HAP payment for another property sooner if your circumstances change.
For example, if you receive a job offer in another town, or if your family has another child and the property is no longer big enough.
You can speak, in complete confidence, to an Information Officer in the Information and Advocacy section directly at 01 - 856 0088 , Monday - Thursday 9.30 am to 5.00 pm and Friday 9.30am to 4.00pm.
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