The purpose of the rent supplement scheme is to provide short-term income 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 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 approximately 92,000 persons in receipt of rent supplement for which the Government has provided a sum of €436 million for 2012.
The new maximum rent limits were set after an analysis of the most up to date market data available. The emphasis of the rent limit review was to ensure that maximum value for money for tenants and the taxpayer was achieved whilst at the same time ensuring that people on rent supplement are not priced out of the market for private rented accommodation.
The revised limits are applicable to new rent supplement tenancies from January 2012 and existing tenancies on review. Approximately 25,000 rent supplement claims have been awarded in 2012 indicating that accommodation can be secured within the new limits. The Department is continuing to monitor rent levels throughout the country but at this stage there are no plans to revise the existing rent limits.
Responsibility for Local Authority rents is a matter for, the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government.