Saturday, 24th February 2018
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Help with paying the rent

Question

We are on the local authority’s housing list, but for now we need to find private rented accommodation and get help with the rent. Should we apply for Rent Supplement or the new Housing Assistance Payment?

Answer

People on the local authority’s housing list should no longer apply for Rent Supplement. You can apply for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) instead.

HAP is a form of social housing support for people with a long-term housing need. Since 1 March 2017, it has been available nationwide.

The HAP scheme aims to allow all social housing supports to be accessed through one body – the local authority – and to enable people to take up full-time employment and keep their housing support. Under HAP, you find your own private rented accommodation. The rental agreement will be between yourself and the landlord. This means that you will have certain rights and obligations, as will your landlord.

The rent must be within the HAP rent limits, which are based on your household size and the rental market in your area. Flexibility is provided for people who cannot find suitable accommodation within these rent limits. The Homeless HAP Pilot in Dublin offers further flexibility for homeless people.

You won’t pay the rent to the landlord yourself. You will pay a rent contribution to the local authority through the HAP Shared Services Centre, which manages HAP payments on behalf of all local authorities and will pay the rent directly to your landlord. The rent contribution you pay will be based on your income and your ability to pay – like with a local authority differential rent.

If you are getting a social welfare payment at a post office, you must pay your rent contribution through the Household Budget Scheme.

If you take up a job or increase your working hours, you will still be eligible for HAP, provided that you meet the other conditions of the scheme.

Further information is available on hap.ie and from the Citizens Information Service.

Waterford Citizens Information Centre, 37 Lower Yellow Road provide a Free Confidential service to the public Tel: 0761 07 6580,

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