Step 2: Find a property

On this page:

How to find a property

You can search and apply for a rental property in the private market through an agent or a landlord.

Learn more about the area you're posting to on the Defence Community Hub.

If someone in your family has special needs, please contact the Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608, for Recognition of Dependants with Special Needs and to apply for Assistance on Posting.

Live outside your posting location

RA is usually only payable within your posting location.

Find out what area your posting location covers in Chapter 7 of the Defence Pay and Conditions Manual (PACMAN).

You will need permission from your commanding officer if:

  • you live outside your posting location, it may affect your rent ceiling. For example if the rent ceiling in your posting location is lower, we use that rate
  • 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

You can upload proof of permission on Online Services.

Remote locations

A remote location is one where Defence has not determined a rent ceiling.

This applies if your posting location is defined as:

  • remote
  • enlisted
  • personal

If any of these apply to you, complete a Property search form  [PDF 108 Kb] and submit it via an enquiry in Online Services under ‘My Account’. This will help us determine your rent ceiling.


The way you board determines how much Rent Allowance (RA) you receive. If you live in a boarding house, we use the rate that applies to a member who shares with 2 or more people.

If you board with friends or relatives, we use the rate that applies to how many people live in the property.

Your rent ceiling

Defence assesses the market rent in each posting location every year. This is how they determine the rent ceilings. Rent ceilings are based on the value to rent a 3 bedroom property. If you’re entitled to more bedrooms, the rate increases accordingly.

The Rent Allowance calculator will show what rent ceiling applies to you.

We expect you to find a property within your rent ceiling. If you don’t, you must pay the excess.

If your rent ceiling increases after a review, your RA will automatically change.

If it decreases, you will still receive the same amount until you move out.

If you’re a member with dependants (MWD)

If you’re a MWD and the property you choose has a rent much lower than your rent ceiling, you may wish to reduce your rent ceiling and member contribution.

To find out more, please raise an enquiry in Online Services under ‘My Account’.

Increase your rent ceiling

Talk to us if it’s difficult to find a property within your rent ceiling. You must do this before you commit to a rental agreement.

We only increase the rent ceiling in special circumstances.

To apply for an increase:

  1. Read the conditions in PACMAN Chapter 7 Part 8
  2. Complete a Ceiling increase form [PDF 302 Kb]
  3. Submit the form on Online Services

Advance loan for rent, bond or utilities

You can ask for a loan advance to help pay for:

  • up to 4 weeks of rent (within your rent ceiling)
  • all or part of your bond
  • utility bond - this is intended to cover a utility bond if it is required

You do not pay any interest. But you must give us proof of payment within 14 days of starting your lease. You can upload receipts on Online Services.

If you don’t give us proof, we recover the full advance amount from your pay.

If you don’t use all of the loan, we recover the unused portion from your pay.

How you repay the advance

You repay the advance every fortnight for 26 fortnights. Repayments start from your first pay after you receive the advance. If you wish to repay it faster, call 1800 DEFENCE (1800 333 362)

You also need to call Defence if you move out of your property before you’ve repaid the advance.

Apply for an advance loan

After you confirm you are eligible for RA, click ‘Apply for advance’ on Online Services.

If we approve the advance, you receive it with your pay before the date you say you need it by, or the next pay date depending on your pay cycle.

Read your rent agreement carefully

You should read your rental agreement carefully to check for any extra costs.

While you may claim reimbursement for some costs, you cannot claim:

  • water use
  • gardening
  • post box
  • other domestic costs

Defence Community Hub

To help you learn about your posting location, we've created the Defence Community Hub.