Rental Accommodation Scheme

What is the Rental Accommodation Scheme?

If you are getting Rent Supplement for a long period and you are in need of long-term housing, you may qualify for the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS). The scheme is run by local authorities.

The local authority makes the final decision about who qualifies for the scheme. In general, people who are getting Rent Supplement for more than 18 months are considered for RAS.

The main difference between RAS and Rent Supplement is that you can get a full-time job and can stay in the RAS scheme, with a recalculated rent – see ‘How much rent will I pay?’ below.

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) will eventually replace RAS. However, you cannot transfer from RAS to HAP.

How does the Rental Accommodation Scheme work?

Under the Rental Accommodation Scheme, local authorities draw up contracts with landlords to provide housing for people with a long-term housing need. The landlord agrees to provide housing for a specific amount of time, and this is covered in the contract with the local authority.

The local authority pays the rent directly to the landlord. You may still contribute to your rent but you pay this contribution to your local authority, not to your landlord.

The main points of the scheme are:

  • Your local authority pays the full rent to your landlord on your behalf
  • Your landlord must register your tenancy with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) and it is covered by residential tenancies legislation
  • Your accommodation must meet minimum standards for private rental accommodation and your landlord is responsible for maintaining and repairing the property
  • You do not need a deposit, as the local authority has the contract with your landlord
  • If you get a full-time job, you can stay renting under RAS

When you are a RAS tenant

If you get housing under RAS, it is generally considered that your housing needs have been met and you will no longer be on the local authority’s housing waiting list.

If your landlord plans to sell

Under RAS, your landlord signs a contract with the local authority to provide housing for an agreed amount of time. However, if your landlord decides to sell their property, they can terminate the contract.

RAS tenancies are covered by residential tenancies legislation, so your landlord must follow the normal rules when terminating the tenancy.

Read about these rules in our page if your landlord wants you to leave.

How much rent will I pay?

The rent that you pay is calculated according to the local authority’s differential rent scheme. If your income increases, you will be asked to pay more towards your rent. Check with your local authority for the details of their differential rent scheme.

Where do I apply for the Rental Accommodation Scheme?

Apply to your local authority.

More information about the Rental Accommodation Scheme

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

Page edited: 4 April 2024