Who can get it

You can get Rent Assistance if you get certain payments from us and pay rent.

You can get Rent Assistance if you pay rent and you're getting:

You must also pay 1 of the following:

  • rent
  • fees in a retirement village
  • lodging
  • board and lodging
  • site or mooring fees if your main home is a caravan, relocatable home or a boat.

You must pay more than a certain amount of rent each fortnight. How much Rent Assistance you can get depends on how much rent you pay.

If you live in community housing

If you have a lease agreement with a community housing organisation, you may be able to get Rent Assistance.

Community housing provides services such as:

  • accommodation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • disability accommodation
  • a refuge or rehabilitation centre
  • student accommodation
  • some special needs housing - state and territory housing authorities assess these needs.

If you live in defence housing

If you’re a Defence Housing Australia tenant, we work out your Rent Assistance based on the rent you pay to Defence Housing Australia.

If you get Temporary Rental Allowance we calculate Rent Assistance on the amount of rent you pay, minus the Temporary Rental Allowance subsidy.

Special rules for people living in a retirement village

Using the amount you paid when you entered the retirement village we assess if you’re either, a:

  • home owner
  • non-home owner.

If you’re assessed as a non-home owner you may get Rent Assistance. We base the assistance on your ongoing fees in the retirement village.

Find out how we assess retirement villages as assets.

Special rules for young people

Special rules apply for some young people to get Rent Assistance with some payments.

These depend on both:

  • your payment type
  • if you live with a parent or guardian.

We consider that you live with a parent or guardian if you live in the same home with them.

We don’t consider that you live with them if you live in an investment property or self-contained area without them. Fully self-contained areas may include things like granny flats and caravans. Your fully self-contained area may be on the same block of land that their home is on. Read more about special rules to get Rent Assistance with:

Who can’t get it

You won’t get Rent Assistance if:

  • you own or are buying the home you live in, except relocatable homes
  • you’re travelling away from the home you own for less than 12 months
  • the Australian Government pays a subsidy to the approved residential aged care facility where you live
  • your partner gets Rent Assistance with Family Tax Benefit
  • you get an allowance and your partner gets Rent Assistance with their pension.

You also can’t get Rent Assistance if you’re leasing from a state or territory housing authority. These include the following:

State or territory Government housing authority
Australian Capital Territory Community Services Directorate - Housing ACT
New South Wales Department of Communities and Justice
Northern Territory Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities
Queensland Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy
South Australia Department of Human Services - SA Housing Authority
Tasmania Department of Communities Tasmania
Victoria Department of Families, Fairness and Housing or Transitional Housing Management (THM) program
Western Australia Department of Communities - Housing Authority
Page last updated: 26 September 2022.
QC 43696