HAP fails to assist

The housing market continues to prove that it is hard to penetrate by people who are eligible for social housing. In order to qualify, you must meet a multitude of standards. The most important of these being that you need housing and cannot provide using your own resources, you have a legal right to remain in the State, you are 18 years of age or older, and lastly your net income must be lower than a calculated threshold based off the structure of your family. 

If you are in the spectrum that allows you to receive social housing, then you are likely to be able to utilize social housing support that is run by the local authorities; this tool is known as HAP and it can be utilized in a multitude of ways. 

HAP went into effect on 1 March 2017 and has been available under local authorities. This program was implemented to allow HAP tenants full-time and still keep their housing support. It also gave rise to a more structured approach at organization by making all social housing supports be available under one governing body. 

This program is set up through local authorities and is supposed to cover a portion of monthly rent to the landlord. This payment is of course subject to the terms of the rent as well as the case rules, including income payments, on an individualized basis. 

Although this plan sounds to be well thought out and fair in regards to taking into consideration a multitude of factors, it has failed many. In a recent report by Daft.ie, a top irish property search engine, 92 pc of rental homes across the country are not eligible for HAP benefits. The most recent Simon Communities ‘Locked Out of the Market’ reported similar findings, noting that they could only find 482 properties available to rent during their period of study were not within the HAP guidelines and therefore could not be utilized by those that qualified for such housing. 

The most brutal statistic is that only 8pc of all rental properties are fitting for HAP recipients. This lack of accommodations makes this type of house market and HAP eligibility extremely competitive. With so much competition, it can be hard to determine if the program is actually providing a suitable amount of help to those who the program was created for. 

In order to have a sustainable solution, the local government must be committed to securing and renting out housing on their own or with reliable lenders.

One Comment

  1. The Cat

    HAP looks good on paper but upon utilisation and execution, it is a complete nightmare. Despite the benefits to the landlord, the scheme is failing both the tenant and the landlord. Why stipulate tax compliant in order for the landlord to take on a HAP tenant and at the same time give 100% tax relief? The limit amount is not realistic and it does not reflect the current market rental rate and the tenant still has to top up to make the shortfall contributed by HAP. In addition to that, HAP recipient pays a weekly contribution which is ‘forced’ upon via direct debit by the council. Failing to do so, will result in a hefty penalty where payment to the landlord will ceased! So whilst, it looks and sounds good but for the HAP recipient there is a ‘top-up’ to be made and a weekly charge by Limerick City Council for the recipient of HAP to stay on the said scheme! So who comes out doing the fancy & happy chicken dance at the end of the day when it comes to HAP?

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