Housing Assistance Payment HAP - July 2022

In July 2022 Threshold campaigned for the HAP rate for single people to be increased to that of couples. Single people reliant on HAP were at a significant disadvantage when looking for a home to rent.

HAP, Single monther with child in her arms

The Issue

The Housing Assistance Payment was established in 2014 to provide social housing supports to those living in the private rental sector. It had advantages over Rent Supplement, in that a person could continue to work and receive HAP. The HAP rates were last increased in 2016, despite the national average rent having increased 50% since then. This has resulted in many HAP tenants having to pay unaffordable rental “top-ups” to their landlords to bridge the gap between HAP rates and market rent.

Single people reliant on HAP are at a particular disadvantage when looking for a home to rent. Despite having the same housing need as a couple, a one-bed home, they were entitled to a lower rate of HAP. The difference in rates is significant in some areas. For example, there is a €240   difference in terms of HAP rates payable to a single person and a couple in Dublin, Fingal, South Dublin and Co Wicklow, €175 in Co Kildare, €125 in Co Meath and €100 in Cork City.

The Solution

Threshold campaigned for the HAP rate for single people to be increased to that of couples. In July 2022, the Minister issued a Circular to all Local Authorities providing them with the flexibility to apply a couple rate to a single person household.

In addition, to this the Minister has provided for Local Authorities to pay a discretionary uplift of 35% on HAP rates. This will go some way to bridge the gap between market rent and the HAP rates. Threshold will continue to campaign for an increase in the base rates.

[1] RTB Rent Index Q1 2022 (PDF)

Q2 2016 National Average Rent = €970.43, Q1 2022 National Average Rent = €1,459.92

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