Thursday, 1 April 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
Social and Affordable Housing
135. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if a prospective tenant who qualifies for the homeless HAP support can rent a home from a landlord that is related to them; if so, the circumstances and rules regulating same; if each local authority is operating the system under the same guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17659/21]
The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Scheme is deemed to be a social housing support under the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014. As a long term housing support, an assessment of housing need must be completed in order for a household to qualify for HAP. Any household with an identified housing need is eligible for HAP.
Under HAP, households at risk of homelessness may be eligible for additional supports. To qualify for specific additional supports available to homeless households, a household must have been determined by the relevant local authority to be homeless within the meaning of section 2 of the Housing Act 1988. The operation of local homeless services, including the Place Finder Service, is a matter for each local authority.
In order for housing assistance to be provided under the Act the housing authority must be satisfied that the tenancy concerned is or would be a tenancy in good faith.Where there is a family relationship between the tenant and the landlord, the housing authority may seek evidence of a previous landlord and tenant relationship between a landlord and the HAP applicant. This evidence may include:
- Proof of rent payments;
- A lease or tenancy agreement for the property; and
- Registration of the tenancy with the Residential Tenancies Board.
HAP support is available to tenants in rent a room scheme arrangements, however, the rental of a room to a civil partner, son or daughter is excluded from this scheme. HAP cannot be paid where the tenant is seeking to rent within the family home.
In order for a housing authority to be satisfied that a tenancy is or would be in good faith, the onus is on the applicant and landlord to prove that what is being proposed is a bona fide tenancy. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the housing authority to make a decision in each individual case.