Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on the Minister for Housing to begin a comprehensive and time limited review of all rent subsidies, including the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“The Oireachtas Housing Committee this morning heard from Threshold and St. Vincent de Paul (SVP), who raised concerns about HAP, its limitations and the reforms that are required.
“Both organisations stated that HAP limits were not in line with market rents; that HAP offered insufficient security of tenure and that it doesn’t meet the needs of those who have a long-term housing need.
“I raised similar concerns, including the increasing amount of time it is taking to process new HAP applications. In many cases, HAP applications are taking ten weeks; by which time a landlord has moved on and the tenant has lost the tenancy.
“I also highlighted the rising costs of all rent subsidies, including rent supplement, RAS and long-term leases which will cost the taxpayer in excess of €1 billion in 2021 with over 100,000 tenancies in receipt of rental subsidies – a third of all registered tenancies.
“Ultimately Threshold and SVP have called for a ramp up of the delivery of real affordable rental and purchase homes and an increase in local authority/Approved Housing Body building and acquisition.
“Sinn Féin would echo these calls. We also support bringing rent subsidies in line with market rents but it is important that this is accompanied by a three year rent freeze and a targeted year-on-year reduction in the number of households dependent on subsidies in the private rental sector.
“The Minister for Housing must commit to a commissioning a short, time limited review of all rental subsidies including HAP by the Housing Agency.
“HAP is not fit for purpose and creates, rather than mitigates, inequalities in the private rented sector.”