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‘Increased HAP discretion rates welcome but rent freeze still required’ says Laois TD

Laois County Council General

Local Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley has given a qualified welcome to the increased discretion on rent limits for Housing Assistant Payments (HAP) in Laois.

HAP is a supplement administered by local councils to those who are on a Social Welfare Payment and residing in private rented accommodation.

Brian Stanley says that the increase announced moves the discretion from up to 20%, to possible 35% in the rent limits for HAP.

Deputy Stanley says that while these are welcome, they will not have the desired effect unless accompanied by a rent freeze.

He said: “The increase in limits to rent support for low-income families will simply be used by some landlords to increase rent further in the 2 counties.

“It is likely that in line with what happened with the last increase in HAP rent limits in 2016, it will fuel further rent inflation.

“Already, most HAP recipients are paying large top up to Landlords on top of their portion of the rent to the councils.

“The most recent figures show that rents in Laois /Offaly increased by 14.6% in Offaly and 10.5% in Laois in the past year.

“Average rents in Laois have now hit €1169 per month and €1158 in Offaly.

“Unfortunately, the increases in rent, supplement will do nothing for workers in Private Rented Accommodation who are not in receipt of HAP.

“Government have again failed to take the 2 measures that would bring relief to workers who are renting to bring in an emergency 3 year rent freeze and 8.5% tax rebate which would put the equivalent of 1 months rent back in the pockets of workers and families.’’

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.