Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Questions (58)

Mick Wallace

Question:

58. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will re-evaluate the HAP limits for Gorey, County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24028/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

A key principle of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Scheme is that eligible households source their own accommodation in the private rented sector. The accommodation sourced by tenants should be within the prescribed maximum HAP rent limits, which are based on household size and the rental market within the area concerned.

Each local authority has statutory discretion to agree to a HAP payment up to 20% above the prescribed maximum rent limit in circumstances where it is necessary, because of local rental market conditions, to secure appropriate accommodation for a household. It is a matter for the local authority to determine if the application of the flexibility is warranted on a case by case basis.

At the end of Q1 2019, 35.7% of the total number of households being supported by HAP were benefiting from the additional flexibility. When the additional discretion available to homeless households in the Dublin Region is removed, 28.9% of households nationally were benefiting from the additional flexibility.

In the Wexford County Council area, at the end of Q1 2019, 25% of households were benefiting from additional discretion, with the average rate of discretion being 16.3% above the applicable rent limits.

I am satisfied that the existing arrangements under the HAP scheme provide adequate flexibility and discretion to local authorities, where necessary, to support households in securing accommodation. Accordingly, I have no plans at present to increase HAP rent limits, a course of action which could have inflationary effects on rents and thereby have a potentially detrimental impact on the wider rental market, including for those households who are not receiving HAP support.