Housing Assistance Payment Scheme (HAP) 2019

The HAP logo (Housing Assistance Payment)

What is the HAP scheme?

The HAP scheme (or Housing Assistance Payment scheme) is a government scheme whereby social housing assistance is provided to citizens in need by local authorities. It is operated in all areas of Ireland. Under the HAP scheme, local housing authorities will pay rent to landlords every month for HAP tenants renting property from them.

Under the terms of the scheme, the HAP tenant will then pay a weekly amount to the local authority, based on their means and personal situation.

The HAP scheme was first introduced in 2014 and there are currently 18,000 landlords and letting agents participating in the scheme. The HAP scheme will eventually replace the Rent Supplement scheme.


What are the benefits for tenants of the HAP scheme?

A blue and yellow house with a coin being inserted into a slot at the top

HAP will enable prospective tenants who do not have high enough earnings yet, to continue to work full-time and also retain financial housing support. 

Instead of applying to different housing bodies for different subsidies, HAP means those in need of housing support can simply apply to one office - their local authority (county council or city council).

In addition, HAP tenants can choose their own accommodation, meaning they can live somewhere that may be better suited to their household, work and school choices, unlike with social housing.

The rent contribution that HAP tenants must make is tailored to that household’s income and the ability to pay, and so is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Participating in the HAP scheme does not prevent HAP tenants from other social housing support and options. HAP tenants are not local housing tenants, they are tenants of a landlord and as such are entitled to all the rights and obligations covered by the Residential Tenancies act.


What are the disadvantages for tenants of the HAP scheme?

If HAP tenants fall behind on rent contribution payments to their local authority, the payments the local authority makes on their behalf to the landlord will be suspended, and finally stopped if the situation is not resolved. 

This means the tenant will then be responsible for paying the full amount of rent going forward, as well as any rent arrears which have built up.

An article by the Irish Independent also highlighted that in actual fact many HAP tenants are priced out of up to 92% of the rental market. 

Landlords can also sometimes be reluctant to participate in the scheme. The situation is no doubt being exacerbated by the current rental housing crisis in Ireland.


What are the benefits of the HAP scheme for landlords?

The HAP scheme is not only a good deal for tenants, but it also has some clear benefits for landlords.

Rent is received on time, every month, by electronic payment, and there is a 99% rent payment rate. HAP payments will continue to be made even if there is a change in the tenant’s income.

Landlords who rent to HAP tenants may also receive more tax relief and be able to claim mortgage interest payments as expenses against their rental income. The tenant will be your tenant, not a tenant of the local authority, and as such you will retain all rights and obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act.


What are the disadvantages of the HAP scheme for landlords?

Rental standards of accommodation will need to be checked, as well as tax compliance. However, these can be carried out after the tenancy has already started and HAP payments have been received.

Can landlords refuse HAP?

The Equal Status Acts 2000-2015 makes it unlawful to discriminate against potential tenants due to them receiving any social welfare or housing payments.


Do I qualify for the HAP scheme?

A yellow house on a blue trailer

Any citizens who qualify for social housing support and are not currently housed by local authorities can apply to be part of the HAP scheme. This means that you must be on the local authority’s housing list in order to apply.

Citizens who receive the Rent Supplement can also be transferred to the HAP scheme. In fact, if you have been in receipt of the Rent Supplement for 18 months or more, you will usually be contacted by the local authority to apply for the HAP scheme.

Unlike social housing, HAP tenants are not provided with accommodation or put on a waiting list, they find their own accommodation in the private accommodation rental market. The landlord of the prospective accommodation also needs to agree to rent the property to a HAP tenant.

To find out whether or not you qualify for the HAP scheme, you can contact your local housing authority. We’ve included the contact details for county council and city council housing departments below.
 

Council

Telephone

Fax

E-mail

Website

Carlow County Council

059 913 6270

059 914 1503

secretar@carlowcoco.ie

http://www.carlow.ie/

Cavan County Council

049 437 8300

049 436 1565

info@cavancoco.ie

http://www.cavancoco.ie/

Clare County Council

065 682 1616

065 682 8233

hap@clarecoco.ie

http://www.clarecoco.ie/

Cork City Council

021 496 6222

021 431 4238

hap@corkcity.ie

http://www.corkcity.ie/

Cork County Council

021 427 6891

021 427 6321

hap@corkcoco.ie

http://www.corkcoco.ie/

Donegal County Council

074 915 3900

074 917 2812

info@donegalcoco.ie

http://www.donegalcoco.ie/

Dublin City Council

01 222 6400

N/A

hap@dublincity.ie

http://www.dublincity.ie/

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council

01 2054399

01 2986827

hap@dlrcoco.ie

http://dlrcoco.ie/

Fingal County Council

01 870 4515

N/A

housing@fingal.ie

http://fingal.ie/

Galway City Council

091 536532

091 567493

housing@galwaycity.ie

http://www.galwaycity.ie/

Galway County Council

091 509003

091 509010

housing@galwaycoco.ie

http://www.galway.ie/

Kerry County Council

066 7183810

066 7122466

housing@kerrycoco.ie

http://kerrycoco.ie/

Kildare County Council

045 980818

045 980240

hap@kildarecoco.ie

http://kildare.ie/countycouncil/

Kilkenny County Council

056 7794900

056 7794004

housing@kilkennycoco.ie

http://kilkennycoco.ie/

Laois County Council

057 8664000

057 8622313

hap@laoiscoco.ie

http://www.laois.ie/

Leitrim County Council

071 9650426

071 9621982

housing@leitrimcoco.ie

http://leitrimcoco.ie/

Limerick City and County Council 

061 556200

061 415266

customerservices@limerick.ie

http://www.limerick.ie/council/

Longford County Council

043 3343412

043 3341233

housing@longfordcoco.ie

http://www.longfordcoco.ie/

Louth County Council

1890 202303

042 9334549

housing@louthcoco.ie

http://louthcoco.ie/

Mayo County Council

094 9251495

N/A

housing@mayococo.ie

http://mayococo.ie/

Meath County Council

046 9097290

046 9097001

hap@meathcoco.ie

http://www.meath.ie/CountyCouncil/

Monaghan County Council

047 30500

047 82739

info@monaghancoco.ie

https://monaghan.ie/

Offaly County Council

057 9346800

057 9346868

housing@offalycoco.ie

http://offaly.ie/

Roscommon County Council

090 6637100

090 6625599

housing@roscommoncoco.ie

http://roscommoncoco.ie/

Sligo County Council

071 9111111

071 9141119

housing@sligococo.ie

http://www.sligococo.ie/

South Dublin County Council

01 4149000

N/A

info@sdublincoco.ie

http://www.sdcc.ie/

Tipperary County Council

0761 065000

N/A

customerservices@tipperarycoco.ie

http://tipperarycoco.ie/

Waterford City and County Council

076 1102020

N/A

contact@waterfordcouncil.ie

http://waterfordcouncil.ie/

Westmeath County Council

044 9332000

044 9342330

housing@westmeathcoco.ie

http://westmeathcoco.ie/

Wexford County Council

053 9196221

053 9196055

postmaster@wexfordcoco.ie

http://www.wexford.ie/wex/

Wicklow County Council

0404 20120

0404 67792

housing2@wicklowcoco.ie

http://www.wicklow.ie/

The HAP scheme Dublin

The HAP scheme operates in Dublin as it does throughout the rest of Ireland, with an additional scheme called the DRHE. The DRHE is the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive scheme and is a subset of the HAP scheme operated in the Dublin region only.

The DRHE provides a deposit and an advance of two months rent to landlords who rent to tenants under the scheme.

If you are a landlord and would like to make a property available for homeless tenants you can contact the DRHE office on 01 222 6955 or email homelesshaplandlord@dublincity.ie

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