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Rental Sector

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 1 June 2021

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Questions (334)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

334. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will increase the housing assistance payment caps in County Kerry given the significant increase in rents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29553/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Increased rent limits for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and the Rent Supplement Scheme were introduced in 2016. These limits were agreed in conjunction with the Department of Social Protection (DSP).  In reviewing the rent limits, my Department worked closely with DSP and monitored data gathered from the Residential Tenancies Board and the HAP Shared Services Centre.  The HAP rent limits were increased significantly, in the order of 60% in some cases.

Maximum rent limits for the HAP scheme are set out for each housing authority area by the Housing Assistance Payment (Amendment) Regulations 2017.  The current maximum HAP rent limits are available on the Irish Statute Book website at the following link:

http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2017/si/56/made/en/print?q=housing&years=2017. 

Local authorities also have discretion, because of local rental market conditions, to exceed the maximum rent limit by up to 20%, or up to 50% in the Dublin region for those households either in, or at immediate risk of homelessness. It is a matter for the local authority to determine whether the application of the flexibility is warranted on a case by case basis and also the level of additional discretion applied in each case.  

In considering this issue, I am conscious that increasing the current HAP rent limits could have negative inflationary impacts, leading to a detrimental impact on the wider rental market, including for those households who are not receiving HAP support.

My Department closely monitors the level of discretion being used by local authorities, taking into account other sources of data, including Residential Tenancies Board rent data published on a quarterly basis. I am satisfied that the current maximum rent limits, together with the additional flexibility available to local authorities, are generally adequate to support the effective operation of the HAP scheme. However, I will continue to keep the matter under review.

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