Helpful Information
 

Helpful Information

HAP, Housing Assistance Payment.

HAP, Housing Assistance Payment.

HAP, Housing Assistance Payment.

What is HAP?

HAP is a form of social housing support provided by all local authorities. HAP means that local authorities can provide housing assistance for households who qualify for social housing support, including many long-term Rent Supplement recipients.

Under HAP, local authorities will make a monthly payment to a landlord, subject to terms and conditions including rent limits, on a HAP tenant’s behalf. In return, the HAP tenant pays a weekly contribution towards the rent to the local authority. This ‘rent contribution’ is based on the household income. It is calculated in the same way as the rent paid by a tenant of a local authority owned property.
Why is HAP being introduced?
HAP provides a more integrated system of housing supports and aims to:
allow HAP tenants to work full-time and still keep their housing support, and
allow all social housing supports to be accessed through one body – the local authority.

Who is eligible for HAP?

Any household that qualifies for social housing support, and is not currently housed by their local authority, can apply for HAP.
Current Rent Supplement recipients who qualify for social housing support will be transferred from Rent Supplement to HAP on a phased basis.
Your local authority can determine your eligibility for social housing support and HAP. Contact your local authority here.

How does HAP work?

To qualify for HAP, a household must be qualified for social housing support by their local authority, which means the household must qualify to go on the local authority housing waiting list.
HAP tenants must find their own accommodation in the private rented market. (This is the same as the current Rent Supplement scheme.)
The landlord must agree to rent their property to the HAP tenant.
The local authority will make a monthly payment to the landlord. This payment is made on the last Wednesday of each month. The payment is subject to terms and conditions including rent limits, and that the HAP tenant pays their rent contribution to the local authority.
The HAP tenant pays their rent contribution to the local authority. Rent contributions will generally be made through An Post’s Household Budget Scheme. If the HAP tenant does not pay this rent contribution, HAP payments to their landlord will be suspended and eventually stopped. The HAP tenant is then responsible for paying the full rent themselves.

Tenants

Why HAP?

HAP allows you to work full-time, while still receiving housing support.
The rent contribution payable by you will be based on the ‘differential rent scheme’ for your local authority. This scheme links the rent contribution a household must pay to the household income and the ability to pay.
HAP will help to regulate the private rental sector and improve standards of accommodation. Your local authority will inspect the rental property to make sure that it meets the required standards.
You can, if you want, avail of other social housing supports and options through your local authority’s transfer list.
Local authorities will be the single point of contact for all social housing supports.
    
How to apply

To be eligible for HAP, you must first apply and be approved for social housing support by your local authority. If your household is already on your local authority’s housing list, you will be eligible for HAP. If you are on your local authority’s housing list and currently in receipt of Rent Supplement, you will be eligible for HAP.
Once you are qualified for social housing support, you are eligible to apply for HAP.
If you are already on your local authority’s housing list, you can ask for the HAP application form and find your own accommodation. The HAP application form only needs to be filled in after you have found accommodation that meets your needs. This could be your existing accommodation if you are in receipt of Rent Supplement. If this is the case, you need to talk to your landlord as they need to agree to the terms and conditions of the HAP scheme.
If you have been receiving Rent Supplement for a significant period of time, the Department of Social Protection may ask you to contact your local authority about your social housing support qualification, and applying for HAP.


Your landlord and tenancy

Your landlord is the person you make the rental agreement with for your accommodation and who the local authority pays the HAP payment to. The local authority is not your landlord.
As a HAP tenant, you must pay your rent contribution to your local authority or HAP payments to your landlord may be suspended and ultimately stopped.
Your tenancy will be covered under the terms of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (RTA) (as amended). This means that the tenancy agreement is, or will be, between you and your landlord. You can find further information about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant on the RTB website www.rtb.ie

Finding your accommodation

HAP tenants find their own accommodation in the private rented market. This accommodation should be within the HAP rent limits. These limits are based on your household and the rental market in your area. Your local authority will let you know what the rent limits are.
Your local authority will make a monthly payment to your landlord, subject to terms and conditions including rent limits, on your behalf.
The earliest date from which your local authority will make HAP payments to your landlord is the date they receive a complete and valid HAP application form from you and your landlord. If you move into a property before this date, you will have to pay any rent due yourself. After agreeing a tenancy with your landlord, you need to return the completed HAP application form to your local authority as soon as possible.
Your tenancy will be covered under the terms of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (RTA) (as amended). This means that the tenancy agreement is, or will be, between you and your landlord. The local authority is not your landlord. Your landlord is the person you make the rental agreement with and who the local authority pays the HAP payment to. You can find further information about this on the RTB website www.rtb.ie
Your local authority will arrange to inspect your accommodation within eight months of the first HAP payment made to your landlord. This is to make sure that your accommodation meets the rental housing standards that apply to all privately rented properties.
If you are eligible for HAP and find suitable accommodation in another local authority area, you can contact the HAP section of your current local authority where you can be advised further.

Your payments

If you are eligible and approved for HAP, your local authority will make a monthly payment directly to your landlord, on the last Wednesday of each month.
In return, you pay a contribution towards your rent to the local authority. This ‘rent contribution’ is based on your household income. It is calculated in the same way as the rent paid by a tenant of a local authority owned property.
Under HAP legislation, limits for HAP payments are based on the number of people in a household and the rental market in the locality. However, local authorities have limited additional flexibility to exceed rent limits on a case-by-case basis. You can get further information on the limits that apply to your household from your local authority here.
Where the monthly rent agreed with your landlord exceeds the maximum rent limit payable by your local authority on your behalf, you must pay the difference directly to your landlord.
Payment of HAP to your landlord is subject to certain terms and conditions. For example, you, as a HAP tenant, must pay your rent contribution to your local authority or HAP payments may be suspended and ultimately stopped.

Transferring from Rent Supplement

Current Rent Supplement recipients who qualify for social housing support will be transferred from Rent Supplement to HAP on a phased basis.
If you enter the HAP scheme, your Rent Supplement payments will stop once your application for HAP has been approved. Both you, as a HAP tenant, and your landlord will be written to at this point to clearly explain the process.
The Department of Social Protection will continue to pay Rent Supplement to recipients who do not qualify for social housing support.

HAP Housing Assistance Payment Ireland

landlord

Why HAP?

As landlord, you will be paid electronically, on the last Wednesday of each month. This covers the occupation of the property by the HAP tenant for that calendar month, subject to the HAP tenant paying the local authority their weekly rent contribution.
There will be no need for rent collection from HAP tenants leading to administrative savings for you.
All payments are made electronically.
HAP payment to you will not change if your HAP tenant’s income changes.
Since 1 January 2016, landlords who rent to tenants in receipt of social housing supports such as HAP may avail of increased tax relief. This allows property owners to claim 100% relief on their mortgage interest, as an expense against rental income. To qualify for this tax relief, the landlord must undertake to make the accommodation available to qualifying tenants for at least three years, and this undertaking must be registered with the Residential Tenancies Board (www.rtb.ie). Further information on increased tax reliefs is available at www.revenue.ie

Rent payments to landlords

When the application is approved, the local authority will start making HAP payments on the last Wednesday of each month directly into your bank account subject to the scheme’s conditions. This covers the period of occupation of the property by the HAP tenant for that calendar month.
The earliest date from which a local authority will make HAP payments to you is the date they receive a complete and valid HAP application form from the applicant and you as landlord. If an applicant moves into a property before this date, they will be liable for any rent due. You are advised to return a completed Section B of the HAP application form to the local authority as soon as possible after agreeing a tenancy.
All local authorities use the services of the HAP Shared Services Centre, which is based in Limerick, to make HAP rental payments to landlords. The HAP Shared Services Centre also collects all rent contributions from HAP tenants. For this reason, HAP payments will be made to your account in the name of “HAP Shared Services Centre” or “Limerick City and County Council”.
Similar to the Rent Supplement scheme, there are limits regarding the maximum payment for different households in different areas.
Where the monthly rent agreed with your HAP tenant exceeds the maximum rent limit payable by the local authority on their behalf, your HAP tenant must pay the difference directly to you.
You do not have a contract with the local authority. The local authority makes payments on behalf of the HAP tenant.
HAP payments will stop when either you or your tenant end the tenancy for any of the normal reasons provided for by the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (as amended).
Local authorities can also suspend or stop payments for other reasons.
For more information, see the HAP Landlord Information Booklet or contact your local authority here.

 

 

For more details and information please visit HAP.ie

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Wednesday, 21 August 2019

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