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Dublin: 12 °C Tuesday 13 November, 2018
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€28 million was paid in rent to landlords last month under the Housing Assistance Payment

Hap and Homeless Hap are a form of rental benefit payment to assist lower income households.

Image: Shutterstock/Detailfoto

A TOTAL OF €28 million was paid to landlords and agents with tenants who are availing of the Housing Assistance Payment by the Irish state in June, it has been revealed.

Council officials gave a presentation to the Dublin City Council Housing Special Policy Committee this week on the Housing Assistance Payment (Hap) and Homeless Housing Assistance Payment.

Hap and Homeless Hap are a form of rental benefit payment to assist lower-income households. Homeless Hap is available only to people who are registered as homeless.

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.

There are strict rent limits depending on what area a home is in. In Dublin, for example, the maximum rent limit for a single adult or couple with one child is €1250, this goes up to €1,300 for a single adult or couple with three children.

In Dublin, the council is able to agree to pay 20% above these limits on a discretionary basis.

With Homeless Hap (which is currently only available in Dublin) the council can agree to pay a deposit and two months’ rent in advance. They may also agree to pay up to 50% of the rent limits.

Homeless Hap is seen as a way to get families and children out of long-term emergency accommodation, like hotels or B&Bs.

Hap is seen as a form of social housing provision and forms a large part of the government’s social housing plan.

Any tenants housed under Hap are deemed to have their social housing needs met, and are taken off the social housing waiting list and put onto a different transfer list.

The figures

Speaking at the council meeting on Wednesday, Hap official Rose O’Dwyer laid out a number of stats in relation to the payment.

In total, there are currently 37,462 Hap tenancies in operation across the country. Payments to landlords and agents last month alone equalled to €28 million.

O’Dwyer said that this figure is rising by about €1 million a month.

About €4 million is taken in by rents paid by tenants each month, and this rises by about €300,000 a month.

The current yearly budget for Hap from the Housing Department is €310 million.

Dublin City Council only started using Hap in March of 2017. Despite Dublin having by far the highest number of homeless people, and one of the most acute housing needs, the number of Hap tenancies managed in Dublin is relatively low when compared with other areas.

O’Dwyer said that 1584 live Hap tenancies are currently managed by the council across the four local authorities and in other counties that people have transferred to.

As well as this, there are 3,588 Homeless Hap tenancies in Dublin.

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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