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HAP and Covid-19

Housing Assistance Payment will not be affected due to Covid-19

In light of the COVID-19 situation and recent announcements made by Government in relation to measures being taken to combat the spread of Covid-19, Eoghan Murphy, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government has informed all local authorities that the payment of HAP rents is a matter of priority for his Department.

The measures introduced to combat the spread of Covid-19 will not affect the payment of rents under the HAP scheme.

Where a person’s financial circumstances have changed due to Covid-19 and where they are not already supported by the HAP scheme, they should apply in the first instance for rent supplement provided by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP).

HAP Tenancies and changes in financial circumstances as a result of Covid-19

If a HAP tenant does not experience any change in financial circumstances as a result of the steps being taken to combat the spread of COVID-19, there should be no change to the operation of the scheme – HAP payments will continue to be made to the landlord and the tenant’s differential rent will continue to be collected.

If a HAP tenant does experience a change in financial circumstances on foot of COVID-19, prior to contacting their relevant local authority, those tenants should contact the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) and apply for the relevant income supports at mywelfare.ie.

During the Covid-19 measures and following the submission of DEASP documentation, any differential rent arrears that accumulate will be re-assessed and rectified, as appropriate, by your local authority in due course– this will not affect your HAP payment to your landlord.

Social distancing

Local authorities have been asked to be flexible in their administrative processes during this period. Therefore, in the interests of reducing direct contact, HAP tenants should check with their local authority before presenting in person at any local authority offices, as it might be possible to carry out your business over the phone or electronically.

The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government recognises the additional pressures facing both landlords and tenants in relation to the Covid-19 crisis and is working with local authorities and relevant stakeholders to ensure the continuation of HAP tenancies during this period.

Further Guidance for Landlords and Tenants

The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government has published a Guidance Document for Landlords and Tenants, which provides information on the restrictions on tenancy terminations and rent increases outlined in the emergency legislation, as well as the income supports available for both landlords and tenants in more detail during this period. Please find a link to this document on the Department's website.

Furthermore, the Residential Tenancies Board has drafted a “Frequently Asked Questions” document to help answer queries you may have regarding the new COVID-19 emergency measures. Please find a link to this document on the RTB's website.