Friday, 6 September 2019

Ceisteanna (1964, 1965)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

1964. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the average monthly housing assistance payment for each of the past five years; the average monthly HAP payment for each county; and the highest HAP payment made in 2018 and to date in 2019. [35684/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

1965. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the differential between the monthly cost of paying a housing assistance payment, a REIT provided social house and the cost of building a social house; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35685/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1964 and 1965 together.

Under the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme, tenants source their own accommodation. The accommodation sourced by tenants must be within the prescribed maximum HAP rent limits, which are based on household size and the rental market within the area concerned.

Each local authority has statutory discretion to agree to a HAP payment up to 20% above the prescribed maximum rent limit to secure appropriate accommodation for a household requiring such assistance. In addition, the normal 20% discretion beyond the rent limits may be increased up to 50% for homeless households in the Dublin Region. The list of HAP rent limits for each local authority are available on the Irish Statute Book website at: www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2017/si/56/made/en/print.

In addition, section 43(2)(b) of the Housing (Miscellaneous) Provisions Act 2014 allows me in my role as Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to determine the maximum amount of rent in respect of which housing assistance will be provided by a local authority for classes of qualified household, other than those prescribed in regulations, having regard to the composition of the household and the location of the dwelling.

In relation to HAP payments, which are the agreed monthly landlord payment made under the HAP scheme in relation to an individual tenancy, the table below lists the average monthly housing assistance payment for each of the past five years and the average monthly HAP payment for each county. These statistics should be considered in the context of the phased roll-out of the scheme over a number of years. While Homeless HAP has been available in all Dublin local authorities since 2015, the HAP scheme generally only became available in Dublin City, Fingal and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown in 2017. As expected, urban tenancies are more costly than rural tenancies, so average costs increased commensurately.

The highest HAP payment made in 2018 and to date in 2019 was €2,500 for a HAP tenancy in the administrative area of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council. This would be an exceptional case, based on very specific circumstances, and, as can be seen below, does not reflect average HAP payments in that area.

Local Authority

Avg. Payment 2014

Avg. Payment 2015

Avg. Payment Q4 2016

Avg. Payment Q4 2017

Avg. Payment Q4 2018

Avg. Payment Q1 2019

Carlow County Council

-

482

521

542

554

554

Cavan County Council

-

-

-

430

449

455

Clare County Council

-

370

409

430

459

465

Cork City Council

-

563

647

722

764

774

Cork County Council

663

576

629

689

727

737

Donegal County Council

-

342

363

383

392

394

Dublin City Council

-

979

1,244

1,258

1,290

1,292

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Co.

-

620

1,085

1,286

1,343

1,359

Fingal County Council

-

1,060

1,333

1,292

1,325

1,340

Galway City Council

-

-

762

784

795

807

Galway County Council

-

500

612

652

701

711

Kerry County Council

-

-

477

502

512

516

Kildare County Council

-

927

885

911

919

921

Kilkenny County Council

473

474

527

556

576

578

Laois County Council

-

-

-

535

573

581

Leitrim County Council

-

-

450

408

414

414

Limerick City and County Council

501

456

512

552

579

584

Longford County Council

-

-

400

397

405

408

Louth County Council

679

491

622

764

833

846

Mayo County Council

-

-

468

489

501

506

Meath County Council

-

682

851

904

936

937

Monaghan County Council

348

379

427

457

480

490

Offaly County Council

-

409

453

482

508

515

Roscommon County Council

-

-

-

447

454

457

Sligo County Council

-

450

474

488

503

506

South Dublin County Council

1,058

1,006

1,104

1,147

1,213

1,230

Tipperary County Council

-

437

454

471

488

492

Waterford City and County Council

478

427

465

489

509

513

Westmeath County Council

-

-

-

540

551

559

Wexford County Council

-

-

-

502

520

527

Wicklow County Council

-

-

750

975

998

1,005

Average Monthly Landlord Payment

523

527

636

735

801

817

The HAP scheme has been structured in a way that protects exchequer funding, by ensuring that payments are made only on valid and complete applications. For this reason rent is generally paid in arrears, which ensures that money is only paid in respect of time that the property has actually been occupied by the tenant.

Limerick City and County Council provides a highly effective transactional shared service on behalf of all HAP local authorities. This HAP Shared Service Centre (SSC) manages all HAP related rental transactions for the tenant, local authority and landlord.

Once a HAP application has been received and confirmed as valid by the relevant local authority, it is then processed by the HAP SSC. On average, HAP applications are processed by the HAP Shared Service Centre within 1 working day of receipt. Any rental payment arising for a given month will then be made to a landlord on the last Wednesday of that month.

I continue to keep the operation of HAP under review but I am currently satisfied with how the scheme is operating and I consider it to be a key vehicle for meeting current housing need and fulfilling the ambitious programme set out in Rebuilding Ireland.

Over the course of Rebuilding Ireland, the Government is committed to meeting the housing needs of over 138,000 households. This will be achieved through blended delivery, with over 50,000 homes being delivered through build, acquisition and leasing programmes, and some 88,000 further households being supported through the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS). A social house building programme is already well underway, with local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies significantly expanding new build output year on year.

It is not possible to directly compare monthly HAP costs to homes delivered through social housing build programmes. It would depend on a number of variables including - duration of tenancy; location of tenancy; type of property; household composition etc.

The total expenditure for the period 2016-2018 on current funded delivery programmes including HAP, SHCEP and RAS was in the region of €1.17 billion. This funding supported the delivery of nearly 57,000 additional housing solutions, in addition to meeting the ongoing costs of the 34,000 tenancies brought forward from 2015, meaning that, overall, more than 90,500 households were supported through this funding.

At the end of 2018, the housing needs of some 90,500 households were being supported under current-funded programmes. If all of the funding provided for these 90,500 households had been transferred to capital expenditure, to support building or buying homes, it would have delivered approximately 5,500 homes, leaving no resources available to support the other 85,000 households. Looking at it another way, it would take almost €20 billion to provide a new build local authority home for the 90,500 households supported under current-funded programmes at end-2018.

In 2019, a further 22,388 households will benefit through these current funded housing delivery schemes, meaning that with the 2019 budget provision of €712 million across the 3 schemes, a total of €1.88 billion, over the 4 years 2016 to 2019, will have ensured that up to 112,000 families and individuals will have had their housing need met.