Housing Assistance Payment Scheme (HAP) 2024

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The HAP logo (Housing Assistance Payment) with two blue houses next to logo

The minimum HAP scheme rate you can receive is €180 for 1 adult in shared accommodation in Longford County Council, however this will go up depending on where you live and your situation. The HAP scheme can be a great way to have a long-term housing solution, in a location that suits your household's needs. Read on to find out about HAP scheme rates in 2024, HAP for landlords, if you qualify for the scheme, and how to apply with the HAP form and how to use the HAP login.

What Is the HAP Scheme?

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The HAP scheme (or Housing Assistance Payment scheme) is a nationwide government scheme whereby social housing assistance is provided to citizens in need by local authorities.

Under the HAP scheme, local housing authorities in Ireland will pay rent to landlords every month for HAP tenants renting a property from them. The HAP scheme works a little like a private rent guarantor but is step up through public bodies instead.

In return, the HAP tenant will then pay a weekly amount to the local authority, based on their means and personal situation.

Did you know? 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.

How Does the HAP Scheme Work?

Tenants who qualify for the programme must find their own private rental accommodations. The monthly rent of the accommodation must be within the HAP limits for it to be accepted. It is important to note that the rental agreement remains between the tenant and the landlord, not the local authority office.

Once your lease is signed, you must register the tenancy with the Residential Tenancies Board.

Eligible applicants will then see their monthly rent paid directly to the landlord by your local authority. Tenants still have obligations to meet and pay the local authority what they can afford.

Landlords also have obligations they need to meet and respect under the programme.

Discrimination You cannot be discriminated against in Ireland if you are receiving any type of social benefit. As such, landlords cannot refuse any HAP scheme or other social programme beneficiaries.

2024 Hap Scheme Rent Limits

Only lodging within your local authority’s rent limit is eligible for the scheme. You can visit the Irish Statute Book on Housing Assistance Payment for the complete list of local authorities and their rent limits. As an example, we list below some of the more popular regions' rent limits under the HAP Scheme.

Rent limits for the HAP Scheme in Ireland
Local Authority1 adult in shared accommodationCouple in shared accommodation1 adultCoupleCouple, or 1 adult, with 1 childCouple, or 1 adult, with 2 childrenCouple, or 1 adult, with 3 children
Cork City Council€300€330€550€650€900€925€950
Dublin City Council€430€500€660€900€1,250€1,275€1,300
Galway City Council€330€360€575€650€850€875€900
Limerick City and County Council€270€300€420€450€650€700€750
Waterford City and County Council€240€270€430€450€550€575€600

Last updated: January 2024
Source: Irish Statute Book on Housing Assistance Payment

Rent Limit Flexibility Should you have 4 or more children or if you cannot find a suitable household within these limits, there is flexibility on these limits of up to 20%. This is only on a case-by-case basis and would require your local authority’s approval.

What Are the Benefits for Tenants of the HAP Scheme?

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There are plenty of advantages for tenants under the HAP Scheme. Concretely, they are as follows:

  1. Freedom To Choose

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

  2. Tailored Payments

    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.

  3. Allows Other Social Benefits

    Participating in the HAP scheme does not prevent HAP tenants from other social housing support and options. Such as the Supplementary Welfare Payment or the Rent a Room Scheme.

  4. Minimum Standards Protection.

    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.

  5. Longevity

    Prospective tenants can retain the financial housing support even if their financial situation improves.

What Are the Disadvantages for Tenants of the HAP Scheme?

Like anything in this world, there are also some inconveniences for tenants in the HAP scheme programme, these are:

  • Accountability

    If HAP tenants fall behind on their rent contribution payments to the local authority, payments to the landlord will then be suspended as well. If the situation persists, the local authority will eventually stop payments altogether.

  • Cost Increase

    A HAP tenant who has had their local authority stop paying the landlord is then accountable for the full amount of rent going forward, as well as any rent arrears which have built up.

  • Risk of Eviction

    Obviously, the continued build-up of these arrears then exposes the HAP tenant to an eviction.

  • Prejudice

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

HAP tenants fact 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.

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, these are:

  1. Guaranteed payments

    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.

  2. Tax benefits

    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.

  3. Selectivity

    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?

There are a few drawbacks for landlords renting to HAP tenants, concretely:

  • Minimum rental standards of accommodation will need to be verified.
  • Your tax compliance will also need to be checked.

However, both of these inconveniences 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?

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To qualify for the HAP Scheme, you must already be in the social housing programme and registered on your local authority’s housing list.

If you aren’t already on the list, you can complete an application for social housing support via your local authority.

You will need to include the following information along with your application:

  • Photo identification
  • Proof of current address
  • Proof of income

The main criteria is having an annual income below a threshold set by the Government. The net income limits vary per county and are listed in the following social housing support PDF file.

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.

On top of the above link to the listing of local authority offices in Ireland, We have also included the contact details for the county councils' and city councils' housing departments below. You can contact your local housing authority to find out whether or not you qualify for the HAP scheme.

Local Authority Listing for the HAP Scheme in Ireland
Carlow County Council059 917 0300059 914 1503[email protected]Carlow CC Website
Cavan County Council049 437 8300049 436 1565[email protected]Cavan CC Website
Clare County Council065 682 1616065 682 8233[email protected]Clare CC Website
Cork City Council021 496 6222021 431 4238[email protected]Cork City Website
Cork County Council021 427 6891021 427 6321[email protected]Cork CC Website
Donegal County Council074 915 3900074 917 2812[email protected]Donegal CC Website
Dublin City Council01 222 6955N/A[email protected]Dublin City website
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council01 205349901 2986827[email protected]Dun Laoghaire Rathdown CC Website
Fingal County Council01 890 5902N/A[email protected]Fingal CC Website
Galway City Council091 536418091 567493[email protected]Galway City Website
Galway County Council091 509300091 509010[email protected]Galway CC Website
Kerry County Council066 7183855066 7122466[email protected]Kerry CC Website
Kildare County Council045 980818045 980240[email protected]Kildare CC Website
Kilkenny County Council056 7794900056 7794004[email protected]Kilkenny CC Website
Laois County Council057 8664000057 8622313[email protected]Laois CC Website
Leitrim County Council071 9650426071 9621982[email protected]Leitrim CC Website
Limerick City and County Council061 556000061 415266[email protected]Limerick CC Website
Longford County Council043 3343499043 3341233[email protected]Longford CC Website
Louth County Council860 364911042 9334549[email protected]Louth CC Website
Mayo County Council094 9064510N/A[email protected]Mayo CC Website
Meath County Council046 9097000046 9097001[email protected]Meath CC Website
Monaghan County Council047 30552047 82739[email protected]Monaghan CC Website
Offaly County Council057 9346800057 9346868[email protected]Offaly CC Website
Roscommon County Council090 6637100090 6625599[email protected]Roscommon CC Website
Sligo County Council071 9111111071 9141119[email protected]Sligo CC Website
South Dublin County Council01 4149000N/A[email protected]South Dublin CC Website
Tipperary County Council0761 065000N/A[email protected]Tipperary CC Website
Waterford City and County Council0818 102020N/A[email protected]Waterford CC Website
Westmeath County Council044 9332119044 9342330[email protected]Westmeath CC Website
Wexford County Council053 9196000053 9196055[email protected]Wexford CC Website
Wicklow County Council0404 201000404 67792[email protected]Wicklow CC Website

How To Apply for the HAP Scheme?

Once you are on your local authority’s social housing list, you will need to follow two easy steps to apply for the HAP Scheme.

Ask your local authority for the HAP Scheme application form. You can always request the HAP form after you have found suitable lodging, simply be sure the rent is within the programme's rent limits.

If you are already in the desired home and are eligible for the HAP Scheme, your landlord will need to fill out a portion of the HAP form.

Once your HAP Scheme application form has been approved, you will then need to complete a second document called the Rent Contribution Agreement. This is the payment arrangement between the tenant and the local authority. You will most likely need to present a copy of the signed lease agreement as well.

Is There a HAP Login?

You will usually pay your Housing Assistance Payment via a standing order with your bank. However, if you’re having problems with your payments, you can use the HAP login to make a one-off payment online. The HAP login is easily accessible via the HAP login portal.

To access the HAP login portal, you will need to have ready your:

  • Customer number
  • Password

You'll then be able to make a payment online so you don't miss any!


The Dublin Homeless HAP Scheme

The Dublin local authority has an additional scheme called the Homeless HAP scheme, operated by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE).

The DRHE provides a deposit and an advance of two months’ rent to landlords who rent to tenants under the scheme. The rent limit can also be surpassed by 50% in comparison to the regular HAP scheme.

Unlike the HAP scheme, the DRHE assists homeless or ‘at risk’ of being homeless households to find appropriate lodging. Have a look at the Dublin Place Finder Service for more information.

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 from Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm or email at [email protected].

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