Rental Accommodation Scheme


If you are getting Rent Supplement for a long period and you are in need of long-term housing, you may be eligible for the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS). The scheme is run by local authorities. The local authority makes the final decision regarding who is eligible under the scheme. In general, people who are getting Rent Supplement for more than 18 months are considered for RAS.

A significant difference between RAS and Rent Supplement is that tenants who take up full-time employment can stay in the RAS scheme, with a recalculated rent – see ‘Rates’ below.

It is intended that the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) will eventually replace RAS. However, you cannot transfer from RAS to HAP.


Under the Rental Accommodation Scheme, local authorities draw up contracts with landlords to provide housing for an agreed term for people with a long-term housing need. The local authority pays the rent directly to the landlord. You may continue to contribute to your rent but you pay this contribution to your local authority, not to your landlord.

The key elements of the scheme are:


The rent that you pay is calculated according to the local authority’s differential rent scheme. If your income increases, you will be asked for a higher contribution towards the rent.

Where to apply

Apply to your local authority.

Further information

The Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government publishes further information about RAS, including a set of FAQs for landlords and tenants.

Page edited: 15 March 2016