For Written Answer on : 30/05/2023
Question Number(s): 380 Question Reference(s): 25819/23
Department: Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage if private health contribution payments, private pension contribution payments and membership fees paid to trades union can be disregarded as income when calculating the weekly rent contribution paid by tenants to local authorities under the housing assistance payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a form of social housing support for people who have a long-term housing need. If a household has been deemed eligible for social housing support, it is a matter for the local authority to examine the suite of social housing supports available, including the HAP scheme, to determine the most appropriate form of social housing support for that household in the administrative area of that local authority.
All households in receipt of HAP pay a differential rent based on the rent scheme set by the relevant local authority. The right of local authorities to set and collect rents on their dwellings is set out in section 58 of the Housing Act 1966. The making or amending of such schemes is an executive function and is subject to broad principles laid down by my Department including that; the rent payable should be related to income and a smaller proportion of income should be required from low income households; and that provision should be included for the acceptance of a lower rent than that required under the terms of the scheme in exceptional cases where payment of the normal rent would give rise to hardship.
Local discretion and flexibility are inherent in the devolved function of administering rent schemes. Decisions regarding the increase or decrease in the rent charged to tenants of local authorities are matters for individual local authorities in accordance with its differential rent scheme.