Rent Allowance

Policy relating to Rent Allowance (RA) is determined by the Department of Defence and is outlined on the ADF Pay and Conditions site.

MWD
Members with Dependants

MWD(U)
Members with Dependants Unaccompanied

MWOD
Members without Dependants

Applying for Rent Allowance

Rent Allowance (RA) subsidises the cost of renting a property in the private rental market and is available to ADF members who are deemed eligible in the Defence Pay and Conditions Manual (PACMAN), Chapter 7. DHA recommends ADF members familiarise themselves with these guidelines and seek formal confirmation from DHA on their eligibility for RA before committing to a rental property.

Members in receipt of RA are paid a fortnightly subsidy through the Defence pay system. Members are responsible for finding a suitable rental property, entering into the lease with the landlord/agent and paying bond and rent in accordance with the requirements of the lease.


Members without Dependants (MWOD) and Members with Dependants (Unaccompanied) (MWD(U)) are usually eligible for RA.

Members with Dependants (MWD) are not usually eligible for RA and must seek approval from DHA prior to signing a lease.

Eligibility is dependent on:

  • the suitability of any properties you own in your posting location if you are MWOD or MWD and,
  • the availability of Service residences if you are MWD

Visit the ADF Pay and Conditions site to confirm if you are eligible for RA before you commit to a rental property.


Claims for MWD Rent Allowance will only be assessed from 4 weeks prior to your 'confirmed' housing required date if no suitable Service residences are available, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

To confirm Service residence availability, it is important that you login to your Online Services account on a regular basis a properties are updated regularly.

Do not sign a lease agreement until your eligibility for rent allowance has been confirmed by DHA. Please read the 'How do I apply for RA?' FAQ below for more details.

Members without Dependants and Members with Dependants (Unaccompanied) can apply for RA via Online Services

Members with Dependants must seek approval for RA prior to signing a lease. Submit MWD RA enquiries via Online Services under ‘My Account'.

Note: Claims for MWD rent allowance will only be assessed from 4 weeks prior to your confirmed housing required date if no suitable Service residences are available, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

After your RA eligibility has been confirmed with DHA, you will be required to submit documents specific to your circumstances in order for your application to be assessed and processed.

You will have 60 days to complete your application and provide these documents.

The documents you are required to provide with your application will be displayed on your Online Services dashboard.

Document

Details

Current Lease from your Real Estate/Landlord

This document provides evidence of the tenancy start and end dates, the property address, rental amount and the occupants.

Note: Members with Dependants must not sign a lease without prior approval from DHA. Please read the ‘How do I apply for RA?’ FAQ above for more details.

Owner/Member Statement (PDF 487KB)

This document can be used in lieu of a formal lease document.

Initial Rent Receipt
This document should be an official receipt from your real estate outlining the date you started paying rent. Note: Bank statements will not be accepted.

Owned Property Contract of Sale

The contract confirms the sale and the date your benefit will commence. This document must outline the key dates related to these arrangements i.e. settlement date.

Furniture Rental Contract

The contract must indicate who the furniture is being hired from with the amount of each item of furniture listed on the contract. The contract must not be a rent-try-buy agreement.

Garaging Contract

This document must include the address of the garaging, the start date, the amount paid and the frequency of the payment.

Personal Location Approval

This approval outlines your eligibility to housing benefits in a nominated personal location.

This document is a minute from the delegate which confirms eligibility to RA due to approval of one of the following PACMAN references:

8.3.14 Dependants removed to personal location on deployment

8.3.17 Dependants move for compassionate reasons

8.3.18 Dependants move for employment or study

8.3.19 Member moves to a remote location

8.3.20 Dependants removed before the member's discharge

Movement Plan Letter

For members returning from an overseas posting.

This document establishes the start date of your eligibility.

Posting Signal

Used for Long term schooling and return from overseas postings

The posting signal confirms the eligibility to housing benefits in the posted location for duty.

Continuous Full Time Service Contract

This document establishes the start and end date of your eligibility to Rent Allowance.

Discharge/Separation Signal

This document confirms eligibility to RA in accordance with one of the following PACMAN references:

7.8.32 Member with less than 12 months until ceasing continuous full-time service

7.8.33 Dependants removed before member ceases full-time service

AE681 - ADF Categorisation Change and approval to Live In/Live Out or a minute from the CO/OC

Approval to live outside of the posting locality.

This document may be a minute indicating approval from your Unit CO/OC or an AE681 - ADF Categorisation Change and approval to Live-In/Live Out - noting that this approval does not guarantee RA approval.



Current serving members are able to access their present and past tenancy history online through their Online Services account.

Once logged in, at the bottom of the dashboard select View Tenancy History and follow the prompts. An email will be sent to the nominated email address with your tenancy history.

The tenancy history can then be provided to your real estate agent.

You have 60 days to complete your application and provide all requested documents. Incomplete applications are cancelled after 60 days and any advances that have been paid to you will be recovered. We will send you a reminder seven days prior to cancellation.

RA benefits are calculated by taking into consideration the following:

  • The rent ceilings and contribution rates set by Defence
  • The property rent amount
  • The location of the RA property compared to the location of the base you are posted to
  • Your rank and categorisation
  • The number of non-dependant occupants living in the rental property
  • If you will be boarding in a private boarding house or with relatives/friends
  • If you will be living in a remote location
  • If your adult dependant is also an ADF member
  • Election of the 2 bedroom rates available to Members With Dependants

The Rent Allowance Calculator is a tool for you to estimate the rate of rent allowance payable in different circumstances. The calculations are a guide only, and may not reflect the final amount payable.

The ADF Pay and Conditions site explains how rent ceilings and contributions are used to calculate RA.


What is a rent ceiling?

The rent ceiling is the maximum Defence pays towards your housing costs based on the property market in your posting location.

What is a member contribution?

The contribution rate is the minimum you pay towards your housing costs based on:

  • your rank
  • your categorisation
  • the number of Defence members and/or civilians sharing a residence (including children)

The PACMAN Annexes provide the rent ceiling and contribution amounts.

The ADF Pay and Conditions site explains how rent ceilings and contributions are used to calculate RA.

If you are a Member with Dependants (MWD) who has been approved to receive RA benefits, you may elect to reduce your rent ceiling and contribution rate where this is financially beneficial to you.

MWD members may apply the rent ceiling and contribution amount based on a member eligible for two bedrooms. This is referred to as the ‘2 bedroom ceiling’. This can be applied to any tenancy regardless of the number of bedrooms in the property. The normal 3 bedroom rent ceiling is reduced by 10% and the contribution rate is also lower. This may provide a better financial outcome in some circumstances.

The Rent Allowance Calculator assists you in determining if reducing your ceiling is financially beneficial for you and your family.

DHA may approve an increase to your Rent Ceiling in limited circumstances which are defined at PACMAN 7.8.12.

A request for a ceiling increase should be undertaken prior to committing to a rental agreement as approval is not guaranteed.

Complete the Ceiling Increase form (PDF 302KB) and submit via an enquiry in Online Services under ‘My Account’.

A Member without Dependants (Unaccompanied) is not required to make a contribution to their RA.

A Member without Dependants may not be required to pay rent contributions if deployed, posted to a seagoing ship or submarine, or if living under field conditions for longer than 21 days. Contributions will be automatically adjusted by Defence Pay. Please direct enquiries to Defence Service Centre on 1800 333 362.

Contact Toll Transitions on 1800 819 167 to discuss storage entitlement if you are deploying and do not intend to retain your rental property.


You may share the property with other members or civilians. The number of occupants you share with will determine the amount of RA you will receive.

You must let us know each time the occupants change in the RA property via ‘View/Update Tenancy Details’ in Online Services.


RA is paid to you as part of your pay and is paid from the date you occupied, changed categorisation or as determined by PACMAN Chapter 7 Part 8. If you are claiming RA from a date in the past, the backdated portion will be included in your first payment.

We will advise you once we have processed your RA application and have informed Defence to commence your RA payments. You will start to receive RA payments within the first two pay periods after we have informed Defence. The payments will continue each fortnight.

If you have any questions about the RA payments in your pay, you can contact the Defence Call Centre on 1800 DEFENCE (1800 333 362). You're responsible for paying rent to your real estate agent or landlord.


You will need permission from your commanding officer when:

  • you wish to live outside of your posting location
  • your posting location changes and you wish to stay in your current rental property
  • you have approval to live outside your posting location but want to move to another property that’s still outside your posting location

The lower ceiling of your posting location and the location of your RA property is used to calculate the RA.

The ADF Pay and Conditions site explains how RA is calculated.


A remote location is one where Defence has not determined a rent ceiling at PACMAN Annex 7.E.

In these circumstances, DHA will assess the local market and determine a rent ceiling. Complete the Property Search form PDF (107KB) and submit it via an enquiry in Online Services under ‘My Account’.

If you live in a boarding house, the rate applicable is the same as a member sharing with two or more persons.

If you board with relatives, friends or others, the rate applicable is based on the number of people living in the property.

Assistance with the upfront payment of a bond, rent in advance, or a utility connection deposit, is available in the form of an interest-free loan from Defence which you repay fortnightly from your pay over the term of your lease up to a maximum of 26 fortnights.

Advances are paid in the next available pay after you request them.

Repayments will commence immediately once the advance has been paid to you. For enquiries about the repayment of advances, contact 1800 DEFENCE – (1800 333 3623).

Bonds and advances are requested via Online Services after your RA eligibility has been approved.

Lease letting and stamp duty fees can be reimbursed including on renewal of a lease. A receipt is required to process this reimbursement and can be provided by submitting an enquiry via Online Services under ‘My Account’.

Defence does not provide any subsidised support or reimbursement for water usage, post box, gardening charges and/or other domestic charges in rental properties.

RA is paid from the date of occupancy. If you have a Commonwealth funded relocation and you paid rent prior to the date you occupied, a period of this may be reimbursed if costs savings to Defence are able to be determined.

Upon processing your application, DHA will undertake an assessment of eligibility to any rent paid prior to occupation of the property and will automatically process this reimbursement for you. No additional documents are required to support this eligibility.


An allowance may be payable for furniture hire if:

  • you are a Member without Dependants
  • you are a Member with Dependants (Unaccompanied)
  • your share of the property rent is less than your rent ceiling

You can only use the allowance to hire furniture and not for rent-try-buy schemes.

The ADF Pay and Conditions site lists the furniture you can claim against.

Application for this allowance can be made via Online Services at the time of applying for RA or at a later date by using the ‘View/Update Tenancy Details’ link on your dashboard.


Living in Rent Allowance

Your work and personal circumstances are the grounds by which RA benefits and calculations are determined. Any changes need to be notified to DHA to determine your continued eligibility for a housing benefit.

Whilst in receipt of a subsidised housing benefit you are required to advise DHA of any changes as soon as practicably possible after the change has occurred. Delays may result in a debt owed to Defence. Supporting documentation may also be required and must be submitted promptly after notifying DHA of a change. This will ensure that any assessment of your housing benefit can be completed in a timely manner.

Change Type

How to notify DHA

Required Documents

Categorisation change

Defence will notify DHA

N/A

Rank change

Defence will notify DHA

N/A

Period of approved leave without pay

Defence will notify DHA

N/A

Work Unit

Update via‘View/Update Tenancy Details’ in Online Services.

Posting Signal

Rent amount

Update via‘View/Update Tenancy Details’ in Online Services.

Current Lease from your Real Estate/Landlord or an Owner/Member Statement (PDF 487KB) in lieu of a lease.

Sharing Occupants

Update via‘View/Update Tenancy Details’ in Online Services.

N/A

Purchase or Sale of an owned property

Go to ‘My Account’ then‘My Profile’ in Online Services.

Contract of Sale

Lease expiry date

Update via‘View/Update Tenancy Details’ in Online Services.

N/A

Furniture Rental

Update via‘View/Update Tenancy Details’ in Online Services.

Furniture Rental Contract

Garaging Allowance

Update via‘View/Update Tenancy Details’ in Online Services.

Garaging Contract submitted via an Online Enquiry via ‘My Account’ in Online Services.

Dependants

Update via‘View/Update Tenancy Details’ in Online Services.

N/A

Separation from spouse or partner

Submit an Online Enquiry via ‘My Account’ in Online Services.

N/A

Visitor staying for more than 5 weeks

Submit an Online Enquiry via ‘My Account’ in Online Services.

Visitor Notification form (PDF 285KB)


It is important that you inform DHA of your intention to purchase a property as soon as you have signed a contract of sale as your RA may be affected. We will assess the property for suitability in accordance with PACMAN Chapter 7 Parts 2 and 3.

You can advise us of your purchase via Online Services by selecting 'My Account' then ‘My Profile’.

If the property is assessed as not suitable, your RA won’t change.

If the property is assessed as suitable, you will be eligible for RA until either of these dates (whichever happens first):

  • 1 week after settlement
  • 3 months after the date the contract was signed

You can apply to have utility costs reimbursed if you are a:

  • member with dependants who is unaccompanied (MWD(U))
  • member without dependants (MWOD) submariner

The maximum benefit you can claim is advised in PACMAN Chapter 7 Part 10.

You can request a utility reimbursement via your dashboard or 'My Account' in Online Services.

Please note, only one bill can be submitted per request. If you have multiple utility bills to claim please submit separate requests for each. 

You cannot claim:

  • Green energy
  • Late fees
  • Refundable deposits

Defence requires a Rent Allowance (RA) review be undertaken every year. This is to make sure everyone who receives RA is getting the amount they are eligible for. We manage the review through Online Services.

The review is undertaken in the first half of the year with an email sent to all participants outlining the start date and due date of the review.

The review should only take minutes to complete with 8 questions to answer and the upload of a current rent receipt or tenant payment history.

The receipt or payment history must show the:

  • address of the rental property
  • amount and period of rent payment
  • name of the agent or owner you pay rent to

If you rent privately, you can upload a signed statement from the owner or landlord. It must show all the details above. Or, complete a Member/Owner statement form (PDF 487KB).

If further documents are required to support your RA review, these will be displayed on your Online Services dashboard.

Policy relating to the RA Review is outlined on the ADF Pay and Conditions site.

Who needs to participate?

You must take part in the review, unless:

  • you moved into your RA property not long before the RA Review
  • you will move out of your RA property within 2 weeks after the review starts

Can I ask someone else to complete it for me?

You can authorise another person to complete the review for you. Log in to Online Services and click 'Nominate a delegate'

What if my rent amount has changed?

If your rent amount has changed, upload a receipt or tenant ledger that shows the new amount. DHA will assess your review to determine if your rent allowance needs to be recalculated.

You also need to upload 1 of these:

  • A copy of your signed lease with the new amount
  • A signed letter from your landlord or agent with the rent change details and when it started (to cover increase and decreases in rent).

What if I make a mistake in my review questions?

If you make a mistake, raise an enquiry in Online Services under 'my account'.

What happens if I do not complete the review?

If you do not provide the information by the due date, we may suspend your RA.

If your review has been suspended, you can raise an enquiry in Online Services under 'my account' to complete the review.

If you’re still eligible for RA after we review it, we will restart your RA from the date it was suspended.

What happens after I complete the review and upload my documents?

After we receive your completed review and supporting documents, we will assess your RA within 12 weeks. We will email you the outcome of your review including any changes to the RA amount you receive, if applicable.

Will changes in my personal circumstances affect the amount of RA I receive?

Generally, the following changes can affect your RA amount or eligibility:

  • Change in categorisation
  • Property purchase
  • Move to a new location
  • Change in how many people share with you

You can use the Rent Allowance Calculator to estimate your new RA amount.

I will be away for the period of the RA Review. Who do I inform?

If you know you’ll be away during the review, let us know via an enquiry in Online Services under 'My Account'. We’ll arrange for you to do it before you leave.

Moving out of Rent Allowance

Yes, you must tell us if you are planning to move out of your rental property even if you will move to another property in the same location. RA is only payable for the property you currently occupy. Your RA in the current property will need to be ceased in a timely manner so you don’t incur a debt to Defence.

Select the ‘Moved or Planning to Move’ link on your dashboard in Online Services.

Your eligibility to RA is reassessed each time you move. Please read the ‘Who is eligible for RA?’ FAQ at the top of this page for more details.

Members with Dependants must first seek a Service residence via Online Services. Please read the ‘Who is eligible for RA?’ FAQ at the top of this page for more details.

If you were approved for a rent ceiling increase or approved to live outside your posting location, these approvals do not transfer to the new property. You’ll need to apply again.

If you’re evicted from your rental property due to circumstances outside of your control, call Toll Transitions on 1800 819 167. They can give you information about your removal benefits.

To view available properties, select the ‘Moved or Planning to Move’ link on your dashboard in Online Services.


If you are relocating out of your RA property with Toll Transitions you will be eligible to claim reimbursement of any rent paid after you move out. Rent paid after you moved out is automatically assessed and paid on provision of your final rent receipt which can be uploaded on your Online Services dashboard.

You cannot claim this benefit if you are purchasing a home or moving to a new residence voluntarily.

If you move out because you are discharging, we only reimburse up to 3 days after pre-pack.

Where it is necessary to break the lease for Service reasons that are beyond your control, you may be eligible to a reimbursement of administrative costs such as advertising.

Every effort should be made to give the landlord maximum notice of your intention to vacate so that the residence can be re-let. Any dispute arising in relation to your bond is a matter between yourself and the agent/owner. As you are the leaseholder, neither DHA nor Defence may enter a bond disputation.

If you need to break your lease and wish to claim other administrative costs, submit an enquiry via Online Services under 'My Account'.

Your RA is paid until the date you plan to move out. If you use Toll, it’s paid until the date they come to pack up your belongings (pre-pack). 

Your RA is ceased within 2 pay periods of you vacating the RA property.

Couldn’t find the answer you were looking for?

If you need to get in contact with us, fill out an online enquiry form by visiting 'My account' in Online Services.
If you have an urgent enquiry, you can call us on 139 342.