Applying for a Service Residence

Policy relating to Service Residences (SR) is determined by the Department of Defence and is outlined on the ADF Pay and Conditions site.

An SR is a subsidised house or apartment that Defence provides to eligible members with dependants at most posting locations. These properties are located in proximity to Defence bases and offices throughout Australia.

There are times when a SR may be deemed a Surplus Service Residence. Members who are categorised as member without dependants or member with dependants (unaccompanied) may be eligible to occupy a Surplus Service Residence.

Policy relating to an SR is determined by the Department of Defence and is outlined in the Defence Pay and Conditions Manual (PACMAN). Please familiarise yourself with the guidelines in chapter 7 of PACMAN and seek formal confirmation from us on your eligibility for an SR or Surplus SR benefit.

You may be eligible for a Service Residence or Surplus Service Residence (SSR) in the following circumstances:

  • you or your dependants do not own a home in the posting location, or proximate region, or a home has been assessed as unsuitable by DHA; and
  • you have a spouse, recognised interdependent partner or children who live with you; or
  • you have other Defence recognised dependants who normally live with you; or
  • you are a member with dependants (unaccompanied) and your dependants need housing; or
  • you are a member without dependants or a member with dependants (unaccompanied) and there are SSRs available in the posting location you are serving in.

SRs are viewed via DHA Online Services.

Posting to a new location in more than 4 weeks?

You are able to activate access to view available SRs via Online Services. Click on the 'Have you been posted' banner. A short video presentation is also available that outlines the posting process. After viewing the video, select the MWD option.

Posting within the next 4 weeks or moving within your current posting location?

Requests for access to view available SR's are to be submitted in an enquiry via Online Services.


Your dashboard will display a summary of available properties. You can scroll through or click on the ‘View all’ link to see all properties on one page. Rent Band Choice Properties will also be displayed if available.

The Viewing Window

The properties displayed are influenced by the date you require housing and the ready date of the SR. This is called the viewing window. All available properties that have a ready date that is 4 weeks prior to and 5 weeks after your housing required date will appear in this window. At 56 days out from your housing required date, the window will extend to include any currently vacant properties.

Changing the viewing window

To see other properties that may be outside of your viewing window, you can edit the date you require a SR on the dashboard of your Online Services.

Please note if your Toll Transitions Case Manager has already provided your required date, you will not have an option to edit the date in Online Services.

If you select a SR based on the new date, you will be required to occupy the property based on the new date. If you have a Commonwealth removal, you will need to contact Toll Transitions on 1800 819 167 to discuss the change in dates.

We have made changes to Online Services to improve the visibility of available Service Residences (SR) for ADF families who are living in a private rental. This allows you to Reserve a property at any time during your lease. Should you choose to Reserve an SR, you will be required to occupy within five weeks of the ready date of the property. Once you have reserved a property you will receive a reminder email each week to confirm your reservation in Online Services. If you do not confirm your reservation before the date specified in the reminder email, your reservation will automatically be removed and the property will become available to other members.

Removal benefits may be provided if your lease term is ending within the next 12 weeks, or you are currently under month-to-month periodic agreement. To determine your entitlement to removal benefits, please submit an enquiry via Online Services on reservation of an SR.

If your lease term is ending within the next 12 weeks, or you are currently under month-to-month periodic agreement and you have a confirmed eligibility to a removal benefit, you may be eligible for rent paid after you move out.

An MWOD or MWD(U) member eligible for RA may choose to live in an available Surplus SR.

PACMAN specifically advises that a Surplus SR can only be shared with other members. This is because a shared component of rent is only able to be calculated where all sharing occupants are Defence members with the contributions available in Annexes of PACMAN Chapter-7.


Demand and availability of Service Residences is assessed by DHA daily and, in some cases, we can modify your viewing to include properties that are one rent band above or below your eligibility. This occurs automatically in some cases and will be reflected in the list of properties you will view. If you choose an SR that is above your entitlement, a higher contribution may apply.

To request viewing of available SRs outside your entitlement, submit an enquiry via Online Services.

To learn more about the SRs you are eligible for and contributions, visit ADF Pay and Conditions.


DHA recognises that not all Service families are the same.  Whilst many families will find a traditional suburban home will meet their needs, other families prefer a property that is closer to restaurants, shops and other amenities or a property that has little to no yard maintenance requirements.

DHA’s range of Rent Band Choice properties offer you more flexibility to choose your next home with some or all of these features, leaving you and your family more time to enjoy your free time.

Unlike a Service Residence, you are not obligated to select a Rent Band Choice property.  The choice is entirely up to you.  You can select a property that is above your GRE if you are happy to pay a slightly higher contribution.

To learn more about contributions, visit ADF Pay and Conditions.



Online Services is a live site and the SRs available for selection may change at any time. During the peak posting months of October to January many members may be viewing the same properties as you. We recommend logging into Online Services regularly.

If you would like to be notified when properties become available, you can indicate that you would like to receive notifications when more properties become available. This notification can be turned off or on at any time.

There could be a number of reasons why there are limited or no homes showing on Online Services.

  1. Homes only appear on Online Services when the current tenant informs DHA of their intention to vacate the property
  2. Visibility of homes is influenced by the date you require housing
  3. The home’s Ready Date must fall within a viewing window that is 4 weeks prior to and 5 weeks after your housing required date. Within 56 days from your housing required date all SR's that are vacant will show on Online Services
  4. There may simply not be any properties available at your entitlement in your posting locality

Please be aware that Online Services is a live website and the properties available may change at any time. You can elect to receive notifications within Online Services when properties become available. These notifications are sent to the email address linked to your username at set times each day and list the properties that are available at the time the email is generated.

Defence posting locations can overlap. However, service residences in any overlapping areas are determined by Defence as being attached to one posting location or the other. SR's cannot be provisioned for more than one posting location. Defence require that DHA provide you only with housing that is attached to your posting location.

Whilst your Commanding Officer/Officer Commanding can approve to extend your posting locality this does not give approval to allocate/occupy houses attached to another posting location. Online Services will only allow you to view SR's that are provisioned by Defence for your posting location.

If you or your dependant own a home in your current posting location and it is deemed suitable for you to live in, you will not be eligible for a Service Residence when you live at that posting location. An assessment of the own home must be undertaken by DHA as part of determining your eligibility to an SR benefit.


When you are viewing a home, you can select the ‘Reservation’ link. You will then have 30 minutes to either accept or decline your selection. A counter will be activated to indicate how much time you have left to make your decision. During this 30 minutes, the home will be removed from other members viewing. If you accept your selection, the SR will be reserved to you. If you decline your selection the SR will reappear on Online Services for other eligible members to view and reserve.

Your next step to secure the home you have selected is to submit your completed Application for Relocation (AFR) to Toll if you have a Commonwealth removal and have not already submitted it.  If you are arranging your own removal, please complete the Notification of Housing (NOH) form (PDF 240 KB). Submit the completed form in an enquiry via Online Services.

You will receive an email requesting you confirm your reservation in Online Services each week until your AFR is completed or until DHA has received and processed your NOHC. If you do not confirm your reservation or complete the required form before the date specified in the reminder email, your reservation will automatically be removed and the property will become available to other members.

The processing of your AFR or NOHC will secure the property for you. We will send you a notification to confirm selection and advise the occupation date. We will also make arrangements for a Welcome Visit at the home prior to your occupation date to introduce you to your new home.

A house-hunting trip allows a member to visit a new posting location to find a service residence. Members with dependants are eligible, when they are posted to a new location within Australia and have been approved a full removal by Toll Transitions. Eligibility does not extend to removals on ceasing continuous full-time service. 

DHA approves eligibility for a house-hunting trip and Toll Transitions approves and manages the payment (and recovery if required) of allowances.

Complete the Request for House Hunting Trip form (PDF 576 KB) and submit via an enquiry in Online Services under ‘My Account’.

Your contributions will start from the date of occupation. Contributions are deducted fortnightly from your normal pay and DHA will arrange to have these deductions commenced.

Allow up to two pay periods for your contribution to commence deduction from your pay. If you have any questions about when Defence will deduct your SR contributions, you can contact the Defence Call Centre on 1800 DEFENCE – (1800 333 3623).

To learn more about contributions, visit the ADF Pay and Conditions.


You can advise changes to dates by submitting an enquiry via Online Services

For date changes occurring in the next 14 days, please notify DHA immediately on 139 342.

Changes to a vacate date may affect another member and their family who may have already reserved your SR. Changes to an occupation date may affect your selection of the SR you have reserved.

Many SR's allow pets to be kept at the property in accordance with local council regulations. All Strata/Body Corporate properties require pet approval before a member can occupy. The specific pet requirements are outlined against each property in Online Services.

Many Sydney properties are not suitable for more than one or two animals and may also require DHA approval.

Where the requirements indicate `By Application - Strata', request approval by submitting an enquiry via Online Services. In these cases, approval is required from authorities such as the building's body corporate who may place restrictions on the size, type or number of animals allowed. Some councils also have rules and regulations around pet ownership that may affect choosing and/or living in your SR.

You will be able to inspect the home you have selected on the day prior to your confirmed occupation date. The keys to the home will be made available to you on this day either from the property manager, or via lockbox details, depending on your welcome visit type.

A Welcome Visit occurs prior to you occupying your property. The purpose of this inspection is to welcome you to your new home and explain key information such as your rights and responsibilities as the occupant. It is a requirement that the Defence member signs the Tenancy Agreement and Ingoing Condition report (ICR) upon acceptance of a property. Detailed below are the three different ways you can have a Welcome Visit.

Self service welcome visit

You will be able to inspect the home you have selected on the day prior to your confirmed occupation date. The keys to the home will be made available to you on this day either from the property manager, or via lockbox details, depending on your welcome visit type.

Members who have occupied a DHA property in the past five years and attended a Welcome Visit, and who are moving in to a property which does not contain asbestos materials or is not heritage listed will have the option to conduct a Self Service Welcome Visit.

This means you will not be contacted by DHA for a phone inspection nor will a DHA Representative meet you at the property the day prior to your occupancy.

Those members who don't meet the above criteria will be required to have a Welcome Visit with a DHA Representative.

If you are eligible for a Self Service Welcome Visit, however would prefer to have a traditional inspection (i.e. a DHA Representative will contact you prior to occupancy to conduct a phone inspection or will conduct an onsite Welcome Visit), you can update your inspection preferences in Online Services.

Note: if your occupation is within the next seven days, and you wish to change your Welcome Visit preference, please contact us on 139 342. You will be unable to update your preferences in Online Services.

Details on how to gain access to the property will be provided to you by SMS the day prior to occupation. This information will also be available in your Online Services Account.

Your Tenancy Agreement will be available for review once you have confirmed your selection of a DHA Residence. The Inspection Condition Report (ICR) will become available the day prior to your occupation.

You will be required to sign and upload your Tenancy Agreement, and acknowledge the ICR terms and conditions in Online Services prior to your occupancy. Please also ensure both the Service Member and Witness signatures have been completed before uploading in Online Services.

Phone inspections

You will be contacted by one of our Property Managers who will arrange a day and time to conduct a phone inspection with you. You will need to be at the property for this call.

Details on how to gain access to the property will be provided to you by SMS the day of your phone inspection. This information will also be available in your Online Services Account.

Your Tenancy Agreement will be available for review once your phone inspection has been booked. The Inspection Condition Report will become available the day prior to your occupation.

You will be required to sign and upload your Tenancy Agreement, and acknowledge the ICR terms and conditions in Online Services prior to your occupancy. Please also ensure both the Service Member and Witness signatures have been completed before uploading in Online Services.

During the Welcome Visit phone call, the Property Manager will:

  • Discuss your rights and responsibilities as the occupant and explain DHA services
  • Take you through the ICR, explaining the amenities and features of the home
  • Ensure you have signed and returned your Tenancy Agreement and accepted your ICR

Please take the opportunity during the phone inspection to ask the Property Manager any questions about your new residence.

On site inspections

Your Property Manager will meet you at the property to conduct an inspection with you.

During the inspection the Property Manager will:

  • Discuss your rights and responsibilities as the occupant and explain DHA services
  • Arrange for your Tenancy Agreement to be signed
  • Take you through the ICR, explaining the amenities and features of the home and obtain acceptance of this
  • Handover the property keys and remotes

Please take the opportunity during the inspection to ask the Property Manager any questions about your new residence.

No. Insurance does not cover any damage, injury or loss caused as a result of the goods being on the property.

If the removals contractor causes any damage to the residence or its surroundings, it must be recorded on the contractors inventory form before they leave the property; you should also request a copy for yourself.

The damage must then be reported to Toll Transitions immediately on 1800 819 167 (who will issue you with a reference number). You are also required to advise DHA by submitting an enquiry via Online Services.

The Puckapunyal Housing Trial commenced in Jan 2018 and allows eligible member’s posted to Puckapunyal Military Area to access housing benefits in Seymour.

A member’s eligibility to participate in the trial is determined by their CO (or supervisor in the members direct chain of command or supervision not below MAJ(E)/APS 6).

To seek approval to participate in the trial members will need to have had an extended posting location approved and complete the Puckapunyal Housing Trial Application Form (PDF 483 kB). Submit completed forms in an enquiry via Online Services.

Additional information regarding the trial and eligibility is available at PACMAN 7.1.16A


The Flexible Housing Trial commenced in Sep 2021 and allows eligible members posted to the included locations to access housing benefits in an approved extended posting location.

There are participant caps for each trial location:

Location

Cap

HMAS Cerberus (Frankston)

30

Kokoda Barracks (Canungra)

20

RAAF Amberley (Ipswich)

110

HMAS Stirling (Rockingham and FBW)       

20

Lone Pine Barracks (Singleton)

15

A member’s eligibility to participate in the trial is determined by their CO (or supervisor in the members direct chain of command or supervision not below MAJ(E)/APS 6).

To seek approval to participate in the trial members will need to have had an extended posting location approved and complete the Flexible Housing Trial Application Form (PDF 525 kB)

Once approved, DHA can confirm if there is a place available in the trial.

No member can access the Flexible Housing trial after 31 Dec 2023.

Additional information regarding the trial and eligibility is available here and at PACMAN 7.1.16B



Couldn’t find the answer you were looking for?

If you need to get in contact with us, please submit an enquiry via Online Services. If you have an urgent enquiry, you can call us on 139 342.