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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 – dependants live in rental accommodation

  1. This section applies to a member if one of the following applies.

    1. The member is a member with dependants occupying accommodation for which rent allowance is payable.

    2. The member is a member with dependants (unaccompanied) whose dependants are occupying accommodation for which rent allowance is payable.

  2. For the purpose of this section, the number of bedrooms a member is eligible for is equal to the number of bedrooms they would be eligible for in a Service residence if Part 6 applied.

  3. Subject to subsection 5, the member’s rent ceiling is one of the following.

    1. If the member is eligible for three bedrooms their rent ceiling is the rate for their location in column A that corresponds with their rank in columns B to F of Annex 7.E Part 1.1.

    2. If the member is eligible for more than three bedrooms their rent ceiling is the rate under paragraph 3.a increased by 10 per cent for each additional bedroom after the third bedroom.

    Example: A member is eligible for 5 bedrooms. The member's rent ceiling is the rate for 3 bedrooms increase by 20 percent (10% for each of the 2 bedrooms above 3).

  4. A member may choose in writing to have a reduced rent ceiling.

    Note: The choice to reduce the rent ceiling means the member's rent contribution under section 7.8.17 is also reduced.

  5. If a member has chosen a reduced rent ceiling under subsection 4 their rent ceiling is the rate for their location in column A that corresponds with their rank in columns B to F of Annex 7.E Part 1.2.

    Note: This is the rent ceiling based on a member eligible for two bedrooms.

    Note: A choice to reduce a rent ceiling may affect eligibility to apply for an increased rent ceiling under 7.8.13.

7.8.10 Rent ceilings – member living in rental accommodation without dependants

  1. This section applies to the following members for their rental accommodation at the member's posting location.

    1. A member without dependants.

    2. A member with dependants (unaccompanied).

  2. The rent ceiling for a member whose living arrangement is in an item in column A of the following table is provided in the annex in column B for the same item.

    Item Column A
    Member’s living arrangement
    Column B
    Rent ceiling Annex
    1. Lives alone.
    Annex 7.E Part 2.1.
    2. Shares with one other person.
    Annex 7.E Part 2.2.
    3. Shares with two other people.
    Annex 7.E Part 2.3.
    4. Shares with three other people.
    Annex 7.E Part 2.4.
    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 2.3.
    7. A tenant boarding in a private home.
    Item 2, 3, 4 or 5 (whichever applies).

    Note: 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.

7.8.10A Rent ceiling for overlapping posting locations

  1. This section applies to a member if all the following apply.

    1. The member's posting location overlaps with their previous posting location.

    2. The member continues to occupy the same rental accommodation they occupied in the previous posting location.

    3. The rental accommodation is in the overlapping area of the two posting locations.

    4. The member’s posting location has a lower rent ceiling than the previous posting location.

  2. The member's rent ceiling is the rent ceiling of their previous posting location.

  3. For the purpose of this section, posting location means the posting location under paragraph 1.3.55.1.a.

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 a Housing Contact Centre
  • Regional Housing Specialist in a Regional Office
  • Housing Contact Centre Manager
  • Regional Director in a Regional Office
  • Complex Task Consultant in a Housing Contact Centre
Director Relocations and Housing
Assistant Director Services Agreement
Assistant Contract Manager Services Agreement

7.8.11A Rent ceiling for certain members of the Navy

A member’s rent ceiling is the rent ceiling that applied immediately before they were posted to 2 Commando Regiment if the member meets all of the following.

  1. They are a member of the Navy.

  2. They are posted to 2 Commando Regiment.

  3. Immediately before being posted to 2 Commando Regiment, both of the following applied.

    1. They were posted to a location in Sydney.

    2. They occupied accommodation for which rent allowance was provided under this Part.

  4. They are granted an extension of their posting location under paragraph 1.3.55.1.b. to include the location where the member lived immediately before being posted to 2 Commando Regiment.

  5. They continue to live in the accommodation they occupied immediately before being posted to 2 Commando Regiment.

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 a Housing Contact Centre
  • Regional Housing Specialist in a Regional Office
  • Housing Contact Centre Manager
  • Regional Director in a Regional Office
  • Complex Task Consultant in a Housing Contact Centre
Director Relocations and Housing
Assistant Director Services Agreement
Assistant Contract Manager Services Agreement

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.

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 who chooses a reduced rent ceiling under subsection 7.8.9.4.

    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 F of Part 1 or Part 2.1 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. ...

    5. ...

  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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