Rent Supplement is a means-tested payment for certain people living in private rented accommodation who cannot provide for the cost of their accommodation from their own resources.
In the past, you could apply for Rent Supplement if you were qualified for social housing support and were on the local authority’s housing list. However, people in this situation should now apply for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).
The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a form of social housing support for people who have a long-term housing need. It is available in all local authority areas. People getting Rent Supplement and who have a long-term housing need are gradually being transfer to HAP.
HAP will eventually replace long-term Rent Supplement.
To qualify for Rent Supplement, the officer dealing with your case must be satisfied that, at the time of application, that you are in a bona fide tenancy and:
Rent Supplement is also available for those persons who have been residing for 183 days or more during the 12 months immediately before the application in an Institution or accommodation for homeless persons as provided under section 10 of the Housing Act 1988, and have not been determined as qualified for social housing support by a housing authority under a social housing assessment pursuant to section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009.
Applicants who do not satisfy these conditions will be referred immediately to their local housing authority to have their housing needs assessed. The claimant’s eligibility for social housing support, which includes HAP, will be determined by their respective local authority.
If you need help with your rent but you don’t meet these conditions, you must contact your local authority to have your housing needs assessed. If you are eligible for and in need of housing support you may be able to access housing under the HAP scheme or local authority housing.
The amount of Rent Supplement is primarily determined by the amount rent payable on your tenancy and that how much income you are receiving or earning. All persons receiving rent supplement are expected to contribute towards their rental costs, the minimum contribution for single persons (receiving a BASI payment) and not subject to an age related reduction on their social welfare payment is €30 per week; similarly, a couple’s expected minimum contribution is €40.
The maximum amount of rent support provided is based on where you live and your family circumstances - maximum rent limits have been established for a number of administrative areas (mostly set on a county basis) and a number of set family compositions. The current rent limits and the relevant administrative areas are available here.
Though the decision on your application will consider the relevant maximum rent limits; under the National Tenancy Sustainment Framework (NTSF), additional financial support can be provided where your rent is above the prevailing maximum rent limit. Where your rent is in excess of the relevant rent limit, or your family composition is not set out, contact the officer dealing with your case for advice and support.
The rules which set out how your means is assessed is detailed below within the operational guidelines in section 5.
Rent Supplement payments are fully exempt from income tax, PRSI and USC.
To apply, fill in the application form for Rent Supplement below. The department's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) or local Citizens Information Service can help you fill in this form.
Part of the form will need to be filled in by your landlord or their agent. Your landlord will need to provide their tax reference number, normally their PPS number, to the department. If your landlord does not wish to fill in the form, a separate form SWA 3C is available below.
This form may be used by a landlord or landlord’s agent to provide the landlord’s tax reference number (or an explanation as to why such a number is not available) as required by Section 198(4A) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Action 2005 (as amended).Download
If your landlord does not have a tax reference number, they should state this in writing to the department and explain why this is the case. Your Rent Supplement may not be paid if your landlord has not given their tax number to the department or has not explained why they do not have one.
Another part of the form may need to be filled in by your local authority, to confirm you are on their housing list and have a housing need (if you are not exempt from this rule).
In some areas new Rent Supplement applications are processed by Centralised Rent Units. To see if your area is dealt with by a central Rent Unit you can view the Central Rent Units
If you live in one of these areas you can get a rent pack from your local office. This pack contains detailed information (including a list of documentation you will need) and all the relevant application forms. You should read the information in the pack carefully. If you are satisfied that you have all the necessary documents ready you can forward your application to the relevant Rent Unit. The processing of your application may be delayed if you do not supply all the information requested in the pack. The Unit will contact you if they need any further information. If they do not need any more information they will tell you when your application will be processed.
You also need to bring the following documents:
The department's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) usually visits you to confirm your circumstances.
Operational guidelines describe the processes and procedures that staff in the department follow when carrying out their work.