Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (900)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

900. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if landlords are permitted to request and or receive top-up payments in respect of recipients of rent supplement; and if not, the penalty applying. [30783/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Rent supplement continues its important role in housing families and individuals, with the scheme supporting approximately 20,160 recipients for which the Government has provided €132.4 million for 2019.

Under the legislative provisions governing rent supplement, the Department’s relationship is with the tenant. There is no contractual relationship between the landlord and the Department in the administration of the scheme. The tenant’s engagement with the Department usually takes place after they have reached an agreement with their landlord regarding their tenancy arrangement.

With high premiums in place for vacant properties, and high rental inflation being experienced for in situ tenancies, the Department has had in place since start of 2015, a 'price flexible case-by-case' award approach for both new and existing tenancies. This approach is set out in the National Tenancy Sustainment Framework. The Framework specifically includes a provision for ‘top-up’ payment arrangements - where a 'top-up' arrangement is in place these can be regularised with the additional support provided.

Where a tenant provides details of a 'top-up' arrangement, seeking additional support, no penalty is raised by the Department against the tenant, with the main consideration to ensure the person can remain in their current home.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.