Applying for 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.

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?' 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.

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 to allow 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 lease 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?’ 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 via 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 ti support a rental application.

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). Submit completed forms in an Online Enquiry via Online Services.

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 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). Submit completed forms in an Online Enquiry via Online Services.

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.

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 items you can claim.

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.


Couldn’t find the answer you were looking for?

If you need to get in contact with us, please submit an enquiry via Online Services. If you have an urgent enquiry, you can call us on 139 342.