Tuesday 12 December 2017

HAP Scheme now in operation across Fingal

Recipients can retain time built up on social housing list

Fergal Maddock

Recipients of the new Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) can retain their place on the social housing list but they must make their intention known within two weeks of obtaining the new financial support.

Councillors were told that once an applicant takes up a HAP tenancy, there are deemed to have their housing need met.

'We will explain to them that if they make an application within two weeks, they can retain their time on the waiting list,' council official Liam Burke explained.

'We will be encouraging people to exercise that option but ultimately it is their own choice.'

For example if a person is on the waiting list for five years and they wish to avail of the transfer, their time will continue to build up.

HAP, which came into effect on March 1, is a new social housing support and is available to anyone with a confirmed social housing need.

It differs from Rent Supplement as it allows applicants work full time.

Recipients must source their own accommodation in the private rented market and will enter a tenancy agreement with the landlord.

With the introduction of HAP, the provision of all forms of housing support will be under the remit of the local government sector, councillors were informed at a Malahide/Howth area committee meeting.

In a presentation, there were told that any household that qualifies for social housing support are eligible, as are current rent supplement recipients who qualify for social housing support.

Rent supplement will still be available to people who do not qualify for housing support such as someone who is temporarily unemployed.

The HAP Tenancy Agreement is between the household and the landlord and is subject to the standard provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act, councillors were told.

Recipients of HAP will source a property and complete the relevant application form. The landlord must also complete an application form.

A dedicate HAP unit in Fingal County Council will then confirm eligibility, arrange a property inspection and sign the rent agreement. All private rented accommodation must meet minimum standards.

The HAP Shared Services Centre in Limerick will then verify the landlord' tax compliance and will active the rent contribution and landlord payments. Rent is not paid directly from the tenant to landlord.

A landlord, councillors were informed, can't just end a tenancy without having recourse to the Residential Tenancies Act.

Councillors were told that an update on how the scheme was operating would be brought back before them in a number of months time.

Fingal Independent

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