Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below are the most frequently asked questions (FAQ's) in relation to Service Residence (SR) & Surplus Service Residence Benefit (SSR), the administrative processes that support these housing solutions and your responsibilities as a tenant.

You are responsible for the opening, closing and payment of any electricity, gas, telephone or internet accounts. DHA will provide a telephone line, however handsets, if not in the property, can be purchased or rented from a telecommunications supplier at your own expense. When connecting these services, you may need to provide a copy of your DHA Residential Agreement (DRA) as confirmation of your new address.

On-base properties may use gas and electricity supplied from the Defence establishment; the billing process for these utilities will be provided through Defence. For further information, please contact DHA on 139 342 or your local Defence Relocations Housing Manager (DRHM).

NOTE: This section does not apply to Surplus Service Residences. Please refer to "Who can occupy a Surplus Service Residence" response.

Members must obtain written approval from DHA before allowing any person other than themselves or their recognised dependants to remain in the SR they occupy for a period beyond 28 days.

Resident child carers may be recognised as dependants and in which case are taken into consideration for Defence benefits i.e. bedroom entitlement. Resident child carers that are not recognised define the arrangement as being between the member and the carer.  In this circumstance the member must seek approval of the occupancy, advising a proposed end date of the arrangement indicating that the intention is not to gain recognition. Contributions are not impacted in either scenario.

There are legitimate reasons to allow visitors to stay in SR. The DRA doesn't preclude it but allows the member to seek authority from DHA as the property and tenancy manager. Obviously it does not allow for permanent living unless recognised as a dependant. Short term legitimate reasons where no money is being paid towards rent (ie. not subletting) is the guide and the DRA makes DHA the authority to grant.

Examples of acceptable visitors beyond 28 days may include:

1. An exchange student staying short term, and if there was no money being paid to the member towards the rent of the SR; or
2. Short term visitors staying over a holiday period.

Resident child carers who are recognised as dependants are taken into consideration for Defence benefits i.e. bedroom entitlement. Resident child carers that are not recognised as dependants must be approved to occupy the SR. Contributions are not impacted in either scenario.

Such requests need to be forwarded in writing to the DHA Housing Contact Centre at housing@dha.gov.au for consideration.

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.

Only with other members who are also eligible for RA. Members cannot share with civilians.

The suitability of pets can be found in the property details area of the selected SR. Many SRs allow pets to be kept at the property according to local council regulations. DHA approval may still be required. All Strata/Body Corporate properties require pet approval before a member can occupy.

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


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. SRs 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 SRs that are provisioned by Defence for your posting location.


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 also 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 2 weeks after your housing required date. Within 28 days from your housing required date all SRs 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.

Once a you discharge from the ADF, your eligibility for a housing benefit ends. You are required to vacate the SR on or before your discharge date.

You should be given sufficient notice by Defence to arrange housing and a removal prior to your discharge date. As soon as you are aware that a discharge may occur it is best to advise DHA and TOLL so they can advise what your options are.

You can apply to remain in the SR after discharge. Please be aware however that eligibility is not automatic and will need to be approved by DHA. This determination will be based on the SRs available and incoming members. Tenancies After Discharge (TADs) can only be approved for a minimum time period of 1 month and a maximum time period of 3 months and will be managed via a civilian real estate agency on behalf of DHA. If approved, bond and rent in advance will be payable.

Such requests need to be forwarded in writing to the DHA Housing Contact Centre at housing@dha.gov.au well before the discharge date for consideration.

Upon the discharge of the senior serving member, the SR is transferred to the now serving member’s name and it is treated as a new tenancy. Normal Group Rent Scheme contributions apply.

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

If you or your dependents 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.

If you are posting into location with a higher Group Rank Entitlement (GRE) you are able to be allocated an SR at your new GRE before the posting commences. You will continue to pay the contribution for your old GRE until the date the promotion commences. From the date of your promotion you must pay the contribution for your new GRE.

If you are appointed as a commissioned officer and this results in a reduction in your GRE, you will continue to be eligible for housing in the GRE you held as a non-commissioned officer, until you reach the higher rank. You will also pay the contribution of the GRE you held as a non-commissioned officer. For example - A Flight Sergeant commissions as a Flying Officer and their rank group eligibility would normally change from Rent Band 2 (RB2) to Rent Band 1 (RB1). Instead, the member keeps their eligibility for a RB2 Service residence and stays in their home, making the same contribution.


The only RA entitlements a member cannot access whilst living in a Surplus SR are:

  • Furniture rental reimbursement.  This is because the calculation of furniture rental reimbursement for RA requires an RA ceiling amount which an SSR tenancy doesn't have.
  • Bond, utility or rent advances.

Yes. Prior to the installation it is important that the tenant contact DHA as they are required to obtain the owner’s written approval for the infrastructure to be connected inside your property. The location of the NBN Device inside the home is at the owner’s and DHA’s discretion. The form to request NBN can be found here.