Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Rent Supplement Scheme Administration

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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1385. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if it is compulsory for rent supplement recipients to transfer to the housing assistance payment. [6963/20]

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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1386. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if a rent supplement recipient is told that they must transfer to housing assistance payment but the landlord refuses to move to this system, if the tenant can remain on rent allowance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6964/20]

Photo of Eoghan MurphyEoghan Murphy (Dublin Bay South, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 1385 and 1386 together.

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 ensures that all social housing supports can be accessed through the local authorities.

HAP will replace Rent Supplement (RS) for those with a long-term housing need who qualify for social housing support. However, RS will remain available through the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) to households as a short-term income support.

HAP provides fast, flexible housing support to all eligible households in the area of their choice. Individuals, who in the past were reluctant to avail of full time work as they would lose their Rent Supplement support, can now move to HAP and avail of full-time employment and retain their housing support, with an adjustment in their differential rent.

HAP plays a vital role in housing eligible families and individuals. At the end of Q4 2019 there were more than 52,000 households having their housing needs met via HAP.

A landlord or an agent acting on behalf of a landlord is not legally obliged to enter into a tenancy agreement specifically with a HAP recipient. However, on 1 January 2016, the Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 introduced “housing assistance” as a new discriminatory ground. This means that discrimination in the provision of accommodation or related service and amenities against people in receipt of rent supplement, HAP or other social welfare payments is prohibited. Further information is available at

If a person feels that they have been discriminated against by a landlord or their agent, they can make a complaint under the Equal Status Acts to the Workplace Relations Commission; further information is available on the Commission's website,  

Administration of the HAP scheme is a matter for the relevant local authority. The transfer of existing long-term rent supplement tenancies is continuing, with ongoing engagement between local authorities and local DEASP offices. Failure of a landlord to participate in HAP should not affect an existing customer’s entitlement to rent supplement, provided that the tenant has engaged with the local authority and/or Community Welfare Officer within the HAP transfer process.

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