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Friday 31 March 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# Housing Assistance Payment
There were just 41 properties available to rent for people accessing HAP last month
HAP is a form of rental benefit payment to assist lower-income households.

JUST 41 houses were available to rent for people accessing the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) last month, a new report has found.

The Simon Communities Locked Out of the Market report for December, which examines 16 areas around the country, found the figure of 41 was a 17% increase from the 35 available in September 2022. 

40 of these fell within discretionary HAP limits only and only one property was available to rent under a standard HAP rate. This was a one-bedroom property in Kildare suitable for singles or couples.

HAP is a form of rental benefit payment to assist lower-income households.

Under HAP, a tenant’s main rent is paid directly to a landlord, with the tenant paying a differential rent to their local council. The tenants must cover their own deposit, and no rent is paid by the council in advance of them entering the home.

The report also found that the number of properties available to rent increased for the first time in two years.

There were 757 properties available to rent at any price within the 16 study areas, over the three dates surveyed.

This represents a 93.1% increase from the previous report (392), but still down 43.8% from the 1,349 properties available in December 2021. 

As seen in many recent Locked Out of the Market reports, the properties within HAP limits were predominantly available in Dublin.

24 (58.5%) were found in the three Dublin areas examined (Dublin city centre, Dublin city north and Dublin city south). 

In Dublin, the discretionary rate allows up to an additional 50% on the standard rate; this is 35% elsewhere in the country.

11 of the 16 study areas had no properties available to rent in any household category within standard or discretionary HAP limits. These were Athlone, Cork city centre, Cork city suburbs, Galway city suburbs, Galway city centre, Co Leitrim, Limerick city suburbs, Limerick city centre, Sligo town, Portlaoise, and Waterford city centre. 

The report found 11 properties affordable under the discretionary HAP rates for both single people and couples. A further 23 properties were available under discretionary limits for households with one child. 30 properties were available for families with two children, under the discretionary HAP rate, 23 of which overlap with properties available to one-child families. 

“Our most recent report sees a small increase in the number of properties available for those on HAP. There were 35 in the last report and now 41. While any improvement in the context of the current crisis is welcome, it is sadly not possible to call this an improving situation,” Wayne Stanley, executive director at the Simon Communities of Ireland, said.

“The frontline experience of the Simon Communities working across Ireland, supporting people to move on from homelessness, reflects this,” Stanley said. 

“41 properties available in the context of 11,542 people seeking to exit homelessness is a chronic situation that requires an emergency response,” he added.

Stanley said the Government has “taken the important and welcome step of bringing in the moratorium on evictions”.

“Actions taken while this moratorium is in place will go a long way and what we need to see is momentum on the provision of secure affordable accommodation to those in homelessness throughout 2023,” he said. 

“In the short term, we need to look at the allocation of current local authority housing. If we are to ensure secure affordable homes are in place to address the homelessness crisis, we need to see the full potential in modular build, in vacancy and dealing with dereliction delivered on and brought into the public housing system.”

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