The purpose of rent supplement is to provide short-term support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation, whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. The overall aim is to provide short term assistance, and not to act as an alternative to the other social housing schemes operated by the Exchequer. There are currently approximately 85,000 rent supplement recipients for which the Government has provided over €403 million for 2013.
Under the legislative provisions governing rent supplement, the Department’s relationship is with the tenant; the tenant makes the application for rent supplement and payment is made to the tenant. Rent supplement is specifically for the benefit of tenants to assist them with their accommodation needs. There is no direct relationship between the landlord and the Department in the administration of the scheme. However, social welfare legislation provides for the payment of a rent supplement payment to a nominated payee such as a landlord on behalf of the tenant. This arrangement is entered at the tenant’s request and subject to the consent of the Department.
Where a tenant wishes to have the rent supplement paid directly to the landlord, the tenant should contact the office responsible for administering their payment. The department official dealing with the request will take into account all the relevant circumstances of the particular case and the tenant’s preference will be accommodated where possible.