Increased rent limits for Rent Supplement and the Housing Assistance Payment were introduced in 2016. Taking account of the additional discretion available to local authorities to exceed the maximum rent limit by up to 20%, and up to 50% in the Dublin region for those households either in, or at immediate risk of homelessness, the HAP scheme is operating effectively.
HAP is an immediately available support for those who qualify for social housing. To date in 2019, an average of 333 additional tenancies have been supported through the scheme each week, with over 50,000 households currently having their housing needs met under the scheme.
Increasing the current HAP rent limits could have inflationary effects, 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 sufficient to support the effective operation of the HAP scheme. However, I will continue to keep the matter under review.