Rents on the rise for Defence Force staff

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The RSA is shocked by Defence Force plans to hike up rents for military staff houses by more than 40 percent.

RSA national president BJ Clark

RSA President BJ Clark says many military staff are already struggling to pay Defence Force rents. Photo: RNZ / Logan Church

RSA president BJ Clark said there was heavy demand for help from the RSA to cope with accommodation costs – and the rent rise would make matters worse.

“We have indications that a number of them are struggling to pay the rent as it is.

“To increase them by such a large amount is going to cause not only financial hardship but stress within the family, obviously,” Clark said.

Many uniformed staff were posted away from their families at managed isolation facilities around the country – and hiking rental prices would increase their stress.

Lots of Defence houses were in the old state house design, he said.

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“One shouldn’t look at it as being luxurious accommodation by any means.”

The increase starts from April and will affect staff who live in homes owned by the Defence Force and in barracks on military bases.

Rents on a one bedroom house will increase by $67.50 to $215 a week, rent for a two bedroom house increase to $240, three bedrooms will cost $272.50, rent for four bedrooms will be $310, while the rent for a five bedroom home will rise by $107.50 to$355.

Defence Force chief people officer Liz Huckerby said rents for housing and barrack accommodation were renegotiated with Inland Revenue every three years.

“Due to significant increases in the New Zealand rental market over the past three-year period, the new Defence housing rates do represent an increase on current rents.

“However, they still offer a significant discount from market rates for most locations.

“NZDF recognises that this increase to accommodation rates may be difficult news for some personnel who are also managing financial challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic,” Huckerby said.

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The new rental rates will be locked in for three years.

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