For Oral Answer on : 06/07/2023
Question Number(s): 117 Question Reference(s): 32912/23
Department: Social Protection
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Social Protection when the maximum rent limits under the rent supplement scheme were last updated; the plans, if any, she has to increase these rent limits; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
The last review of the rent limits was completed by my department in 2016. My Department led the review because of its provision of rent supplement payments. However, since that time the number of people availing of Rent Supplement has reduced significantly. The Housing Accommodation Payment scheme and the Rental Accommodation scheme, administered by the local authorities, are now by far the largest schemes providing rental supports. Combined they now support over 74,000 tenancies compared to about 8,800 tenancies being supported through Rent Supplement.
Accordingly, the issue of a review in the rent limits used across all three schemes is a matter for the Minister for Local Government and Heritage.
Rent limits are not absolute. Insofar as Rent Supplement is concerned the Department operates a flexible policy on a case-by-case basis that allows for higher rent supplement payments in certain circumstances. Special arrangements are also in place under the Interim Tenancy Sustainment Protocol and the National Tenancy Sustainment Framework to prevent customers entering homelessness where it was difficult to maintain and/or source available rental properties. In addition, the Department, in conjunction with Threshold, operates a special protocol in the Dublin, Cork, Kildare, Galway, Meath and Wicklow areas where supply issues are particularly acute. Threshold advise, advocate and intervene on behalf of individuals or families in receipt of rent supplement who are in danger of losing their tenancies.
In addition, Additional Needs Payment are also available to assist those who have essential expenses, such as rent deposits, rent in advance and household bills, that they cannot pay from their weekly income.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.