Demand for social housing is met in a variety of ways including through the private rental sector under schemes such as the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) and the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme. Using a variety of mechanisms to deliver social housing makes social housing supports more responsive and flexible, ensures a better mix between private and social housing and creates more sustainable communities.
A key principle of the HAP scheme is that eligible households source their own accommodation in the private rented sector, which best suits their needs, in their area of choice. This is distinct from RAS, which is a different type of social housing support, where the tenant may not always find their own accommodation and instead are allocated a dwelling in accordance with Section 22 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009. Unlike HAP, where a RAS tenancy is ending, the local authority retains the responsibility to source further accommodation for that household.
Both RAS and HAP provide over 56,000 households with more security than rent supplement and they also facilitate those households to increase their household income without the risk of losing their housing support. Both HAP and RAS supported households also have access to the local authority transfers lists, which form part of each local authority’s Scheme of Letting priorities. This provides those in receipt of social housing support with the opportunity to transfer to another tenancy, including dwellings owned by local authorities and approved housing bodies.
I am satisfied that the contractual arrangements underpinning RAS and HAP tenancies, which meet the social housing need of so many households across the country, serve those households well.