The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a form of social housing support for people who have a long-term housing need. It is available in all local authority areas and its introduction now ensures that all social housing supports can be accessed through the local authorities, allowing tenants to take up full-time employment and keep their housing support, subject to adjustment of their differential rent.
The qualification criteria for social housing support are set down in section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and in the Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011, as amended, and are applied by all housing authorities in assessing individual households for support.
The Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011 prescribe maximum net income limits for eligibility for social housing supports in each housing authority, in different bands according to the area, with income being defined and assessed according to a standard Household Means Policy. There are currently three bands – with maximum income limits per individual (main applicant) set at €35,000, €30,000 and €25,000 (the limits are higher for households with multiple adults and with children).
Each housing authority is responsible, under section 58 of the Housing Act 1966, for determining the rent for its dwellings, subject to complying with broad principles laid down by this Department. Authorities set out how their rent is determined in their Differential Rent Schemes, the administration of which is a matter for each housing authority; I as Minister have no role in relation to this matter. The reviewing of local authority housing rents and the collection of rents from tenants is also a matter for individual local authorities.
There are currently over 36,000 households in receipt of HAP and over 20,000 separate landlords and agents providing accommodation to households supported by the scheme. A breakdown of the number of households supported by HAP in each local authority area at the end of Quarter 3 2017 is available on my Department's website at the following link:
Quarter 4 data will be published on the website shortly.
Limerick City and County Council provide a highly effective transactional shared service in respect of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme, on behalf of all local authorities. This HAP Shared Services Centre (SSC) manages all HAP related rental transactions for the tenant, local authority and landlord.
Neither my Department nor the SSC hold details in relation to the household income of HAP recipients.