Housing Assistance Payments (HAP)
Housing Assistance Payments from Mayo County Council.
What is HAP?
The scheme helps people currently on the housing list to pay their rent in private accommodation.
It is up to the applicant to source private rented accommodation. The tenancy agreement remains a private agreement between the tenant and their landlord. Under the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2015, all private residential tenancies must be registered with the Residential Tenancies Board.
Under the HAP scheme, local authorities pay landlords directly. Tenants pay a weekly HAP rent contribution to the local authority, based on their income and ability to pay. (Further information on differential rents).
Where a person(s) is deemed eligible for HAP, a payment will be made directly to their landlord by the local authority on the last Wednesday of each month.
Who is eligible for HAP?
Persons on the Mayo County Council’s housing list. If you are not yet on your local authority’s housing list, you will need to apply by filling in the Housing application form.
Paying your landlord
The local authority will make the HAP payment to your landlord on the last Wednesday of each month, subject to certain conditions:
- You must pay your weekly HAP rent contribution – if not, the HAP will not be paid to your landlord.
- If you get a social welfare payment at a post office, you must pay your HAP contribution through An Post’s Household Budget Deduction scheme.
- The accommodation must meet the minimum standards for rented housing.
- Your landlord must provide evidence of tax compliance within five months of commencement of a HAP.
- You (and your household) must not engage in anti-social behaviour.
If your landlord requires a deposit, you will have to pay this yourself – the local authority will not pay it for you. You may be able to get an “Exceptional Needs Payment” to help with paying the deposit from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
Differential rent payment to local authority
You will pay a weekly HAP rent contribution to the local authority, based on your household’s weekly income. You are obliged to notify the local authority of any changes in your income or household size immediately.
If you take up a job or increase your working hours, you will still be eligible for HAP if you fulfil the other conditions of the scheme.
If you are already on the housing list, you can request a HAP application form from
Housing Department HAP,
Phone: 094 9064510.
Assistance under the HAP scheme can only be considered following the receipt of a complete & valid HAP application. Please note that arrears are not paid under the scheme.
Discrimination when letting residential property
The Equal Status Acts 2000–2015 apply to lettings and accommodation. Landlords cannot discriminate against potential tenants on grounds of gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race or membership of the Traveller community.
You cannot be discriminated against when renting because you are getting one of certain payments, which include HAP. Landlords can no longer state when advertising accommodation that HAP is not accepted. If you feel you have been discriminated against by a landlord or their agent, you can make a complaint under the Equal Status Acts.
How to apply
- If you are not yet on your local authority’s housing list, you will need to apply by filling in the Housing application form.
- If you are already on the housing list, you can ask the council for a HAP application form. This form only needs to be filled in when you have found suitable accommodation, or if you are already in private rented accommodation and eligible to transfer to HAP. Your landlord will need to complete and sign part of the HAP application form.
- If you have been on Rent Supplement for a long time, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection may ask you to contact the council about transferring to HAP
Private rented housing
The Private Residential Tenancy Board, (PRTB), is an agency, established by Government, with statutory powers, to support the rental housing market and to resolve cheaply and speedily disputes without resort to the courts. It is a legal requirement that all private residential tenancies are registered with the PRTB, who are charged with maintaining a national register.
You can find more information and full contact details for the Private Residential Tenancy Board at http://www.rtb.ie
The Citizens Information website also has a section which covers all aspects of Private Renting available here.
On February 1, 2013, Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008 came into effect for all residential rented accommodation.
This means that all rental accommodation must have its own separate sanitary facilities. In addition, updated requirements in relation to heating and facilities for cooking, food storage and laundry apply to rented accommodation.
A summary of these articles' requirements is set out below.
- Sanitary facilities - Article 6: All rental accommodation must have a separate room, contained within the rented dwelling, with a toilet, wash basin and a fixed bath or shower with hot and cold water facilities.
- Heating facilities - Article 7: All habitable rooms must contain a fixed appliance capable of providing effective heating and the tenant must be able to control the operation of such an appliance.
- Food preparation and storage and laundry – Article 8: Each rented dwelling must have adequate facilities for the hygienic storage, preparation and cooking of food and access to a washing machine and dryer.
Responsibility for enforcement of these standards rests with the local authorities. The penalties for non-compliance with the regulations is a fine of €5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both, and the fine for each day of a continuing offense is €400.