Rent Assistance - helping you pay your rent

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					Rent Assistance
Helping you pay your rent
    Rent Assistance—Helping you pay your rent

Rent Assistance
Rent Assistance is a payment provided to help you
pay your rent. It gives you extra assistance if you
have a low income and rent accommodation generally
in the private rental market.

What is “rent”?
Rent is the amount payable by a person as a
condition for occupying their principal home and
includes amounts paid for:
• board and lodgings (includes meals and
   accommodation), or
• lodgings (accommodation), or
• site fees for a caravan, tent, mobile or other
   structure, or
• mooring fees for a vessel, or
• service and maintenance fees provided in a
   retirement village, hostel or aged care facility.

Who can get
Rent Assistance?
To qualify for Rent Assistance a person must:
• pay, or be liable to pay private rent above the
   applicable rent threshold for their usual home, and
• be living in Australia (except for a temporary

    Rent Assistance may be payable to:
    • pensioners, or
    • people without dependent children receiving an
      income support payment who are:
      – partnered, or
      – aged over 25 years of age, or
      – single and under 25 years of age (or aged under
         21 years of age for those getting Disability
         Support Pension) who are living permanently or
         indefinitely apart from parents or guardians, or
      – ABSTUDY recipients, or
    • people who continue to rent their home in Australia
      while temporarily overseas. The length of time that
      Rent Assistance may be payable is usually 13 or
      26 weeks or longer if a discretionary extension
      applies and is dependant on the temporary
      absence rules that relate to a customer’s primary
      payment, or
    • Family Tax Benefit (FTB) customers who receive
      more than the base rate, or if you have care of a
      child between 14 per cent and less than 35 per
      cent of the time you will not be entitled to receive
      Family Tax Benefit payments, but may be entitled
      to Rent Assistance if you meet the other Family
      Tax Benefit requirements.

    Rent Assistance—Helping you pay your rent

Other qualifications for
Rent Assistance
• You may be eligible to receive Rent Assistance
  if you are paying rent to a community housing
• You may qualify for Rent Assistance if you pay rent
  to an organisation that provides services such as:
  – disability accommodation
  – a refuge or rehabilitation centre
  – Defence Force housing
  – some special needs housing as assessed
      by state and territory housing authorities for
      example, housing for people with AIDS/HIV.
• In limited cases, you may get Rent Assistance if
  you live in a temporary residence. You will need to
  contact Centrelink for more information.

Other conditions
Rent Assistance is generally not payable if you:
• have a tenancy agreement (lease) with a state or
  territory housing authority, or
• own or are buying the home in which you live
  (except for mobile and relocatable homes), or
• are a homeowner travelling away from your
  principal place of residence for less than 12
  months, or
• occupy an Australian Government-funded bed in an
  approved care facility, or
• have a partner who receives Rent Assistance with
  FTB, or
• are an allowee with a partner receiving Rent
  Assistance with their pension, or
    • are a single person aged under 25 years of age
      (or aged under 21 years of age if on a Disability
      Support Pension) without children, living in the
      home of a parent or guardian.

    Rates of Rent Assistance
    The rate of Rent Assistance you receive will depend
    • the number of dependent children you have, and
    • whether you are partnered or single, and
    • your age—special rules apply for young customers
      living with a parent, and
    • the amount of rent you pay, and
    • if you share accommodation with others.

    How is Rent Assistance paid?
    Rent Assistance is paid with your regular Centrelink

    If you receive FTB Part A each fortnight, Rent
    Assistance may be included. If you care for a child
    between 14 per cent and less than 35 per cent of the
    time and paying private rent, you may be eligible to
    receive Rent Assistance if you meet the other Rent
    Assistance requirements.

    If you claim FTB as a lump sum payment from
    Centrelink at the end of the financial year, Rent
    Assistance may be included.

    If you claim FTB through the Australian Taxation Office
    at the end of the financial year or receive your FTB
    as reduced fortnightly tax deductions you are NOT
    entitled to Rent Assistance.
    Rent Assistance—Helping you pay your rent

Proof of rent
If you claim Rent Assistance you will have to provide
Centrelink with:
• a current formal written tenancy agreement (lease)
    which shows the amount of rent you pay, or
• a completed rent certificate signed by your
    landlord. Centrelink will give you this form.

You may not need to provide proof of the amount of
rent you pay if you move into:
• a refuge, or
• a retirement village, or
• boarding style accommodation, or
• some residential aged care facilities.

Who is a “landlord”?
A “landlord” can be:
• the person to whom you pay rent, or
• the owner of the premises you lease, or
• the real estate agent/agency managing the
   premises, or
• the owner, manager or operator of a facility (such
   as a caravan park).

    When should I contact
    You must tell Centrelink straight away if:
    • you change your address, or
    • the amount of rent you pay changes, or
    • you start or stop sharing your accommodation or
      the number of people sharing changes, or
    • you take in a subtenant, boarder or lodger, or
    • you become partnered or separate from your
      partner, or
    • the amount of your income changes (this may
      affect FTB payments), or
    • children leave your home or return to live with you,
    • you have difficulty getting a rent certificate

    Rent Assistance—Helping you pay your rent

Can I have my Rent
Assistance paid straight to
my landlord or real estate
Yes. Centrelink has developed an easy way for you to
pay some bills and stay in control of your finances.
Centrepay is a free, direct bill paying service offered
to customers receiving Centrelink payments. Through
Centrepay you can choose to have regular money
for rent, electricity, gas, water and other services
deducted from your payment.

Centrepay is voluntary and you can stop or vary the
deduction at any time. The organisation you pay rent
to must be registered with Centrepay.

Contact Centrelink to find out if the organisation
you want to pay money to is registered. To apply for
Centrepay just call or visit your nearest Centrelink
Customer Service Centre.

     How to find out more
     For more information on Rent Assistance, phone the
     relevant “13” number below.

     Employment Services                          13 2850

     Youth and Student Services                   13 2490

     Family Assistance Office                      13 6150

     Disability, Sickness and Carers              13 2717

     Retirement Services                          13 2300

     In languages other than English              13 1202

     Customer Relations         Freecall™1800 050 004
     (for complaints, compliments and suggestions)

     Australian Government Services Fraud
     Tip-off Line                                 13 1524

     TTY* enquiries               Freecall™1800 810 586
     *TTY is only for people who are deaf or have a
     hearing or speech impairment. A TTY phone is
     required to use this service.

     Go to our website at

     Note: Calls from your home phone to Centrelink “13”
     numbers from anywhere in Australia are charged at a
     fixed rate. That rate may vary from the price of a local
     call and may also vary between telephone service
     providers. Calls to “1800” numbers from your home
     phone are free. Calls from public and mobile phones
     may be timed and charged at a higher rate.

    Rent Assistance—Helping you pay your rent

The information contained in this publication is
intended only as a guide to payments available.

What are your responsibilities?
• It is your responsibility to decide if you wish to
  apply for a payment and to make the application,
  having regard to your particular circumstances.
• The information is accurate as at May 2009, but
  may of course change. If you use this publication
  after that date, please check with Centrelink that
  the details are up to date.

From what date are benefits payable?

Most government payments are paid from, or after,
the date on which the application is made. So the
sooner you lodge your application, the quicker you
may be paid.

What is the position if you deal with a third party?

You may deal with a third party who is not a member
of Centrelink’s staff. If you do so, please remember
that Centrelink has not authorised any third parties
to provide information or advice to you about



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