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Division 2: Rent ceilings

7.8.8 Purpose

The rent ceiling is an amount that will allow a member to rent a suitable home in their posting location. This Division sets out how rent ceilings are worked out, and how they affect rent allowance.

7.8.9 Rent ceilings – member with dependants

  1. This section applies to a member with dependants. It explains how rent ceilings apply.

  2. The rent ceiling that applies to the member is based on the rent for a three-bedroom home. It is set at different rates for each rank group.

  3. If a member is eligible for a home with more than three bedrooms, the rent ceiling increases as shown in the table for each extra bedroom.

    Note: The increase represents 10 per cent of the three bedroom ceiling that would otherwise apply to the member under Annex 7.E for each extra bedroom.

    Rent ceilings
    Item A member eligible for a home with this many bedrooms... has their rent ceiling increased to this percentage of the amount that would normally apply for the member's rank group and location...
    1. Four 110%
    2. Five 120%
    3. Six 130%
    4. Seven 140%
    5. Additional bedrooms Increase by 10% of the base (three bedroom) rate for each room.

    See: Annex 7.E, Rent ceilings

    Example: A member with a large family is eligible for a five-bedroom home. Annex 7.E shows the member is eligible for a rent ceiling of $300. This ceiling is increased by 20 per cent for the extra bedrooms. The member's ceiling is $360.

  4. The member may choose in writing to have a two-bedroom rent ceiling apply to them. If they do this, they cannot apply for an increased rent ceiling.

    See: Section 7.8.14, Member who cannot apply for increased rent ceiling

    Note: This choice may have implications for access to storage at Commonwealth expense. See Chapter 6 Part 5 Division 7 subsection 6.5.52.1, Members with dependants.

  5. This table tells where the rent ceiling amounts are set out.

    Rent ceiling references
    Item If the member... then their rent ceiling is the amount set out in...
    1. chooses to have a 3-bedroom rent ceiling apply Annex 7.E Part 1.1.
    2. chooses to have a 2-bedroom rent ceiling apply Annex 7.E Part 1.2.
    3. is eligible to live in a home with more than 3 bedrooms Annex 7.E Part 1.1 section 2.

7.8.10 Rent ceilings – other members

  1. This section applies to these members.

    1. A member with dependants (unaccompanied).

    2. A member without dependants.

  2. The rent ceiling for a rented home at the member's posting location is worked out using these criteria.

    1. The member's rank.

    2. The number of residents in the home

  3. The rent ceiling for a member not sharing is set at 90% of the rent ceiling for a member with dependants. This amount is intended to provide assistance with the rent of a two-bedroom home. It is often called the two-bedroom rent ceiling.

    Note: This reflects the smaller home needed by a member without dependants or a member with dependants living away from home.

  4. The rent ceiling for a member sharing applies to the member even if the other residents of the home do not pay a share of the rent.

  5. If members of different ranks share, each member gets their share of the ceiling worked out using their own rank group ceiling.

    Example: A Corporal shares with a Sergeant. The Corporal gets 50% of their rank group's two-bedroom rent allowance ceiling. The Sergeant gets 50% of their rank group's two- bedroom rent allowance ceiling.

  6. This table shows where the rent ceiling amounts are set out.

    Rent ceiling amounts
    Item If the member is... then their rent ceiling is the amount set out in...
    1. the only resident of the home Annex 7.E Part 2.
    2. sharing with one other person Annex 7.E Part 3.
    3. sharing with two other people Annex 7.E Part 4.
    4. sharing with three other people Annex 7.E Part 5.
    5. sharing with four or more people Annex 7.E Part 1 plus 10% of that amount for each extra room. Then divide that total by the number of residents to work out the member's rent ceiling.
    Example: If there are five people in a five-bedroom house, take the 3-bedroom ceiling and add 10% of that ceiling for each extra room. Then divide by five.
    6. a tenant in a boarding house Annex 7.E Part 4.
    7. a tenant boarding in a private home item 2, 3, 4 or 5 (whichever applies).

    Example for items 6 and 7: If a member boards in a private home with relatives or friends, the rent assistance is calculated on the number of people living there.

7.8.11 No rent ceiling set for posting location

  1. This section applies to a member who lives in a posting location where a rent ceiling has not been determined. The member's rent ceiling is taken to be the same amount as their rent contribution.

  2. The CDF may approve a higher rent ceiling for the member's posting location. The CDF must be satisfied that the member cannot rent a home at a posting location for less than the rent ceiling set under subsection 1. The CDF must consider all these criteria

    1. Market rents at the location.

    2. Whether there are suitable homes to rent in the location.

    3. The number, age, gender and circumstances of the member's dependants.

Persons who can make the decision under subsection 7.8.11.2 on behalf of the CDF:
An employee of Defence Housing Australia who performs the duties of:

  • Team Leader in the Housing Contact Centre
  • Regional Housing Specialist in the Housing Management Centre
  • Housing Contact Centre Manager
  • Regional Director in a Housing Management Centre
  • National Housing Manager
  • Complex Consultant in the housing Contace Centre
Contract Manager Services Agreement
Assistant Contract Manager Services Agreement
Assistant Director Operations
Director Relocations and Housing

7.8.12 CDF may increase rent ceiling

  1. Rent ceilings are based on the rents in the member's posting location. They are reviewed from time to time to keep pace with changes in the market.

  2. The CDF may approve an increase in a member's rent ceiling. The CDF must be satisfied that the member cannot rent a home at their posting location for less than their rent ceiling for one of these reasons.

    1. Market rent at the location has increased unusually or suddenly.

      Example: An international sporting event has caused a temporary surge in local housing market. Evidence of market rent change could be shown through newspaper advertisements, Real Estate Institute of Australia data and advice from local real estate agents.

    2. The member's dependants have particular housing needs. The member cannot find a suitable rental home that meets those needs within their rent ceiling.

      Example: The member's child has cerebral palsy and needs a home with wheelchair access.

      Non-example: A pet is not a dependant. The rent ceiling would not be changed to help accommodate a pet.

    3. The member is a member with dependants (unaccompanied) and cannot rent a home and sufficient furniture for it within the rent ceiling.

    4. The member has specific housing needs during rehabilitation or as a result of an acquired disability. These needs can include, but are not limited to, any of the following.

      1. Location of the rental home in relation to rehabilitation facilities.

      2. Additional room for a live-in carer.

      3. Accessibility of the accommodation.

  3. For paragraph 2.b, the CDF must consider all these criteria.

    1. The number, age, and gender of the member's dependants.

    2. Any disability of the member's dependants.

    3. Any other factor relevant to the dependant's housing needs.

Persons who can make the decision under subsection 7.8.12.2 on behalf of the CDF:
An employee of Defence Housing Australia who performs the duties of:

  • Team Leader in the Housing Contact Centre
  • Regional Housing Specialist in the Housing Management Centre
  • Housing Contact Centre Manager
  • Regional Director in a Housing Management Centre
  • National Housing Manager
  • Complex Consultant in the Housing Contact Centre
Contract Manager Services Agreement
Assistant Contract Manager Services Agreement
Assistant Director Operations
Director Relocations and Housing

7.8.13 Applications for a rent allowance ceiling increase

A member may apply in writing for an increased rent ceiling, but only for the reasons given in subsection 7.8.12.2.

Note: Members should contact their Housing Management Centre for information about how to apply.

7.8.14 Member who cannot apply for increased rent ceiling

  1. These members cannot apply for an increase in their rent ceiling.

    1. A member with dependants who chooses in writing to have a two-bedroom rent ceiling.

      See: Section 7.8.9, Rent ceilings – member with dependants

    2. A member who holds the rank of Lieutenant General or higher.

    3. A member who holds the rank of Major General and chooses a rent ceiling under column 6 of Part 1 or 2 of Annex 7.E.

      Note: The rent ceiling for Major General and above is based on a home of the same standard as a Group E Service residence. The principle is that column 6 rent ceilings are the highest amount of housing assistance available. A member with the rank of Major-General can choose to live in a lower standard of home.

    4. A member who meets all the following conditions.

      1. The member has chosen to be part of the Sydney apartment trial.

        See: Part 6 Division 10, Sydney apartment trial

      2. The member has rejected a reasonable offer of an apartment in the trial.

      3. No suitable Service residence was available for the member.

        See: Part 6 Division 9 section 7.6.56, No Service residence available

      4. The member is eligible for rent allowance for a property in a suburb listed in Annex 7.C.

        See: Annex 7.C, Sydney apartment trial suburbs

    5. A member who meets all the following conditions.

      1. The member occupied an apartment in the Sydney apartment trial.

        See: Part 6 Division 10, Sydney apartment trial

      2. The member left the apartment before 30 June 2014 at their own expense.

        See: Part 6 Division 10 section 7.6.72, Leaving an apartment

      3. The member is eligible for rent allowance for a property in a suburb listed in Annex 7.C.

        See: Annex 7.C, Sydney apartment trial suburbs

  2. A member cannot apply for a rent ceiling increase to house a resident child carer or a pet.

    See: Part 1 Division 3 section 7.1.14, Definitions for the definition of resident child carer

  3. A member without dependants cannot apply for a rent ceiling increase to hire items in the table in subsection 7.8.25.2.

    See: Division 4 section 7.8.25, Furniture rental

7.8.15 Increased rent ceiling – effect on rent allowance

  1. A member's rent ceiling may be increased under this Part or by a change to Annex 7.E.

  2. The increased rent ceiling applies to the member from whichever of these dates applies.

    1. The day the decision to increase it was made.

      Example: The decision-maker writes to the member to tell them they have decided to approve their application for an increase. The date of the letter is the date the new rent ceiling applies.

    2. The day a change to Annex 7.E takes effect.

      Example: Annex 7.E can be changed by a new determination under section 58B of the Defence Act 1903. The date of effect is stated in the determination.

  3. A higher rent ceiling may have been approved for a member than the one published in Annex 7.E. There may also be increases in the rent ceiling determined for the member's posting location. These three examples illustrate how the member's rent allowance might need to be reassessed if this happens.

    Example 1: A member finds a rental home for $500 a fortnight. The rent ceiling for the home is $460. A ceiling increase to $500 is approved under section 7.8.12. The following year, the rent ceiling for the location is redetermined at $520. There is no change to the member's rent allowance, because they are still renting at $500 a fortnight.

    Example 2: A member finds a rental home for $500 a fortnight. The rent ceiling for the home is $460. A ceiling increase to $500 is approved under section 7.8.12. The following year, the general rent ceiling for the location is redetermined at $490. There is no change to the member's rent allowance, because their individual rent ceiling is still approved at $500 a fortnight.

    Example 3: A member finds a rental home for $500 a fortnight. The rent ceiling for the home is $460. A ceiling increase is not approved under section 7.8.12. The member pays the $40 difference out of their own pocket. The following year, the rent ceiling for the location is redetermined at $500. The member no longer needs to pay the extra $40 contribution as their contribution is calculated within the ceiling.

    See: Section 7.8.12, CDF may increase rent ceiling

7.8.16 Reduction in rent ceiling – effect on rent allowance

  1. If the rent ceiling for a member's posting location is reduced while the member is renting a home the change will not apply to the member until the earlier of the following dates.

    1. The day the lease ends.

    2. The day the member and dependants move out of the home.

  2. Despite subsection 1, a reduction in rent ceiling that occurs during a member's lease applies from the day specified for a member in one of the following circumstances.

    1. For a member who becomes a member without dependants — the day the member becomes a member without dependants.

      Related information: Section 7.8.36, Dependants not at a rented home.

    2. For a member who is posted to a posting location adjacent to the one where the member's rented home is located and remains in the home — the day the member's posting in the adjacent location commences.

Application to Reservists: Yes, on continuous full-time service.



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