What is Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)?
Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a new social housing support being introduced by local authorities. HAP will replace Rent Supplement for those with a long-term housing need who qualify for social housing support.
Under HAP, local authorities will make payments on behalf of tenants directly to landlords in
respect of rent. HAP tenants will be responsible for finding their own accommodation in the
private rented sector.
Who is eligible for HAP?
Any household that qualifies for social housing support will be eligible to 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.
What benefits has HAP for landlords?
The landlord will receive prompt payments directly from the local authority on a monthly basis, subject to the HAP recipient paying the local authority their rent contribution.
All payments will be made electronically.
Who signs the lease under HAP?
The tenant signs the lease as normal. There local authority do not enter any contractual agreement with the landlord
Does a HAP tenancy still have to be registered with the PRTB?
Yes, the tenancy is registered with the PRTB as normal
Does the local authority inspect the property?
The local authority will inspect the property to make sure it meets the required standards.
This inspection will be carried out within eight months after the first HAP payment is made.
What about tax compliance?
To receive HAP payments, you must be tax compliant. You’ll be asked to certify that you are
tax compliant as part of the tenant’s HAP application. You have up to five months after the
first HAP payment is made to produce a tax clearance certificate to your local authority to
show you are tax compliant.
However, you may have to do this sooner depending on the amount of the HAP payments you are receiving. You must produce a tax clearance certificate before payments to you total €10,000.
What payments does the tenant make?
HAP tenants have to pay a weekly rental contribution to the local authority in line with the
local authority’s differential rent scheme. This contribution must be paid by them so that
they remain eligible for HAP, and so that you can, therefore, continue to receive HAP
Are there limits on HAP payments?
Yes. Under HAP legislation, the Minister sets limits for HAP payments based on the number of people in a household and the rental market in the locality.
To begin with, as HAP is being introduced, these limits will be based on the current Rent Supplement limits. You can get further information on the limits that apply to your property, which may vary depending on the size of the tenant’s household, from your local authority.
Who pays the rental deposit?
Under HAP, the local authority does not pay the deposit – it is the tenant’s responsibility. In
some cases, tenants who qualify for HAP might also be eligible for an ‘exceptional needs’
payment from the Department of Social Protection. This payment may assist with paying a
deposit, subject to approval by the Department of Social Protection.
Who is the ‘landlord’ – me or the local authority?
The key ‘landlord and tenant’ relationship is between you and the HAP tenant. As such, the
tenancy will be governed by the terms of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 as amended.
This means that the HAP tenant is your tenant and is not a tenant of the local authority.
Can HAP payments be suspended or stopped?
Yes. HAP payments will stop when either the landlord or tenant end the tenancy for any of the normal reasons provided for by the Residential Tenancies Act 2004.