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.


How the scheme works

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:

When you are a RAS tenant

In general, if you were housed under RAS, your housing needs will have been met and you will no longer be on the local authority’s housing waiting list. However, if you were housed under RAS before 1 April 2011, you may be able to access housing from the local authority or housing association. To do this, you should apply to the local authority to go on a transfer list.

If your landlord plans to sell

Under RAS, your landlord will have signed a contract with the local authority to provide housing for an agreed term. However, if your landlord decides to sell the property, they can terminate the contract. RAS tenancies are subject to the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004 to 2015, so your landlord must follow the normal rules under the Acts when terminating the tenancy. Read about these rules in our document if your landlord wants you to leave.


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

Page edited: 8 March 2018