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Division 4: House-hunting trips

7.1.18 Purpose

House-hunting trips allow a member to visit a new posting location to find a Service residence or home for which rent allowance is payable. The ADF and the member benefits in these ways.

  1. A Service residence, or a home that attracts rent allowance, can be arranged before the member starts duty in the new location.

  2. Members and dependants (if any) will spend less time in temporary accommodation at the new location.

  3. Costs and stress levels are reduced because members are more likely to have a door-to-door removal.

7.1.19 Member who is eligible

  1. A member with dependants who meets all of the following conditions may apply for a house-hunting trip.

    1. They have been posted to a new location within Australia.

    2. They are eligible for a full removal.

      See: Chapter 6 Part 5, Removals and storage – overview

    3. They are eligible for a Service residence or a home that attracts rent allowance.

  2. Any other member who meets all these conditions may apply for a house-hunting trip.

    1. They have been posted to a new location within Australia.

    2. They intend to live in a rented home at the new location.

    3. They will be eligible for rent allowance for that home.

7.1.20 Member who is not eligible

A member is not eligible for a house-hunting trip for one of these purposes.

  1. To prepare for a removal on ceasing continuous full-time service. This applies whether the removal is taken before or after ceasing.

    See: Chapter 6 Part 5, Removals and storage – overview

  2. Note: In the total workforce model, continuous full-time service may be described as service in Service category 6 or 7. A member who is in Service category 3, 4 or 5 and Service option C is also on continuous full-time service.

  3. To look for a suitable own home to buy in the gaining location.

  4. To prepare the member's suitable own home to move into.

7.1.21 Member to apply in writing

A member must apply by completing the Defence Housing Australia Request for a house hunting trip form.

See: Request for a house hunting trip form

7.1.22 CDF may approve a house-hunting trip

  1. The CDF may approve a house-hunting trip. Approval may only be given if the CDF is satisfied on these grounds.

    1. The trip has the purpose of house-hunting stated in section 7.1.18.

    2. At least one of these conditions applies.

      1. There is a selection of Service residences available at the new location.

      2. Rent allowance has been approved for the member and there are homes that rent allowance could be paid for available at the new location.

    3. The member has been granted leave for the trip.

  2. The member may be unable to take leave for the trip because they are required to stay on duty. In this case, the CDF may give the benefit to the member's spouse.

Persons who can make the decisions under subsection 7.1.22.1 and subsection 7.1.22.2 on behalf of the CDF:
An employee of Defence Housing Australia who performs the duties of:

  • Team Leader in the Housing Contact Centre
  • Regional Housing Specialist in the Housing Management Centre
  • Housing Contact Centre Manager
  • Regional Director in a Housing Management Centre
  • National Housing Manager
Contract Manager Relocation Services
Assistant Director Operations
Director Relocations and Housing

7.1.23 House-hunting trip payments

  1. The CDF may approve up to $600 each for the member and adult dependant for the house-hunting trip. The total payment the CDF may approve to the member is $1,200.

  2. The CDF may increase the individual limit in subsection 1 to $1,200, for a person travelling alone. The CDF must be satisfied that exceptional circumstances make this necessary.

  3. A payment made under subsection 1 or 2 may be used to pay for these items.

    1. Return travel to the new location by the most economical means, including Service transport if available. The normal departmental liability for travel to the location is the most that can be paid to the member for the travel.

      See: Chapter 9 Part 1, Basic travel benefits

    2. Accommodation and meal costs up to what would be paid if the member and dependant (if any) were eligible for travelling allowance.

      See: Chapter 9 Part 5, Payment of travel costs

      Exception 1: Costs are payable only for accommodation that is commercially provided. For other accommodation, the member and any dependant would only get half the travelling allowance amount for meals.

      Exception 2: If the member travels alone, they must live in if practicable and get meals from a mess at the new location.

    3. Hire of a car to use for the house-hunting trip. This does not apply if the member or adult dependant drives their own car.

    4. For a member with dependants travelling unaccompanied, up to $20 for the cost of telephone calls with their dependants.

  4. Travelling leave may be approved for the member, if they need to use surface transport to get to the location.

    See: Chapter 5 Part 9 Division 6, Travelling leave

Persons who can make the decisions under subsection 7.1.23.1 and subsection 7.1.23.2 on behalf of the CDF:
An employee of Toll Transitions who performs the duties of:

  • National Relocations Administration Services Manager
  • Regional Relocations Manager
  • Relocation Administration Services Manager
  • Senior Case Manager
Contract Manager Relocation Services
Assistant Director Operations
Director Relocations and Housing

7.1.24 Costs that will not be paid

The Commonwealth will not pay these costs.

  1. Costs for longer than three days and nights at the new location.

  2. Costs for a person other than the member and their adult dependant.

7.1.25 Car hire for member returning to Australia

  1. This section applies to a member returning to Australia from a long-term posting overseas.

  2. The CDF may approve the cost of the member hiring a self-drive motor vehicle to look for a home. The member must meet all these conditions.

    1. They have no motor vehicle of their own because they sold or stored it for the overseas posting.

    2. They do not have a suitable own home in the gaining location.

    3. Suitable accommodation for the member and their dependants has not already been arranged.

  3. The member will not be paid for more than three days' hire costs.

  4. The member is not eligible for any other assistance or allowance for house-hunting.

Persons who can make the decision under subsection 7.1.25.2 on behalf of the CDF:
A person working in the Pay and Administration Centre – Victoria who is:

  • Overseas Administration Team Leader
  • Pay and Administration Manager Specialist
  • Civilian and Overseas Pay and Administration Centre Manager
  • Director Pay and Administration Centre
Contract Manager Relocation Services
Assistant Director Operations
Director Relocations and Housing

7.1.26 Families with special needs

A member who has a dependant who is recognised as having special needs may be eligible for a special needs pre-posting visit. This visit is separate from a house-hunting trip but may be taken at the same time as a house-hunting trip.

See:
Chapter 1 Part 3 Division 2 section 1.3.84, Dependant with special needs
Chapter 8 Part 6 section 8.6.7, Special needs pre-posting visits

7.1.27 House not chosen during house-hunting trip

  1. The rules on accepting and rejecting a reasonable offer of a Service residence or rented home apply to a member on house-hunting trips.

    See:
    Part 6, Service residences
    Part 8, Rent allowance

  2. If the member rejects a reasonable offer, they must repay to the Commonwealth any payment they received for the house-hunting trip.

  3. A member may go on a house-hunting trip but be unable to secure suitable accommodation. Subject to section 7.1.28, they do not have to repay to the Commonwealth the payment they received for the trip.

  4. If their circumstances change, a member can reject a house that they chose on an earlier house-hunting trip. This must be because it is no longer suitable accommodation.

    Example: The member gains an extra dependant.

7.1.28 Evidence of house-hunting trip costs

  1. House-hunting trip payments may be made before the member goes on the trip.

  2. After the trip, the member must give copies of written records of the costs of the trip to the Toll Transitions Removal Administration Services Manager.

    Examples: Hotel, meals and hire car receipts or statutory declaration of expenses.

  3. The member must repay to the Commonwealth any payment under this Part for which they do not provide a written record under subsection 2.

7.1.29 Defence Housing Australia procedures for house-hunting trips

Defence Housing Australia uses the following process for house-hunting trips.

Process
Step Action
1. The member submits a request for house-hunting trip form to the relevant area in Defence Housing Australia, as specified on the form.
2. The request is sent to the Housing Management Centre at the gaining location for decision.
3. The Housing Management Centre writes to the member to tell them if their request has been approved or not. Toll Transitions Regional Support Centre gets a copy.
4. If the request is approved Toll Transitions arrange payment for the house-hunting trip. They inform the member of the payment and the requirement to acquit it.

Application to Reservists: Yes, on continuous full-time service.




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www.dha.gov.au

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