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What is a transfer?

As a social housing tenant, you can apply for a transfer to another property, if your home is no longer suitable for your needs.

Who is eligible for transfer?

If you are eligible for social housing, you are eligible to apply for a transfer. However, transfers are only approved if you have a valid reason such as one of the following.

At risk

You must clearly establish that you, or a member of your household, are at risk if you remain in your current home or location, because of domestic violence, abuse of older people or child abuse. You need to provide written confirmation of this from the police or community workers.

Under occupancy

Under occupying a property is when a tenant has more bedrooms than they require. It is usually the result of household members moving out of the property.

For more information on under occupancy transfers see the vacant bedroom charge fact sheet.

Medical condition or disability

You must clearly establish several points, including that your current home or location no longer meets your household’s housing needs and that a transfer will assist in the management of the medical condition and/or disability of you or a member of your household. If you apply for a transfer on medical and/or disability grounds, you will need to provide a medical assessment form completed by a health professional and other relevant supporting documents. Medical assessment forms are available from your housing provider or the DCJ website.

Family breakdown/ separation

If there is a serious breakdown in the household relationship, your housing provider may provide separate housing. You need to provide information about your current circumstances and the person who needs alternative housing. If there are children in the household, you need to provide proof of Family Payment or Youth Allowance.


If you are suffering serious and ongoing harassment such as verbal abuse, threats, intimidating behaviour or vilification, you should try to have the problem resolved through the police, Community Justice Centre or other support agencies. Applications for transfer must show that you have first tried to solve the problem in ways other than just by moving. You must clearly show that the harassment is having a serious effect on you or a member of your household. You need to provide written confirmation of this from the police, Community Justice Centre or other support agencies.

Severe overcrowding

Establishing a need to move to a larger home will depend on the number, age and gender of household members.


If you or your spouse has been offered employment in a location that is impractical or unreasonable to travel to, you will need to provide a letter from the employer stating that the job is longterm as well as the dates when the job starts. Seasonal or temporary work is not considered to be a reason for transfer.

Compassionate reasons

If you need to move closer to personal support networks or special facilities, you will need to show that these requirements cannot be met where you are currently living. Compassionate reasons can also include needing to move to support someone else.

Tenancy re-instatement

Sometimes you may have to leave your tenancy without first disclosing the situation to your housing provider. This might be because you had to leave under duress. In other situations, you may move into residential care or move into custody. In these cases, you should tell your housing provider as soon as possible. They may ask you to give up your tenancy and offer to re-instate that tenancy when you need to return.

To be eligible for tenancy reinstatement, you must meet social housing eligibility criteria, priority transfer eligibility criteria and provide supporting documents. You need to make an application for re-instatement within six months of vacating your tenancy. If you are in custody for no longer than three years, you can also apply within six months of your release from custody.

Moderate overcrowding

Moderate overcrowding is when there is an increase in the size of the household which results in the household having fewer bedrooms than they would otherwise be entitled to, but the overcrowding is not severe.

How to apply for a transfer

You need to fill in an Application for Transfer and Mutual Exchange - Public Housing Tenants Only DH3003 form or an Application for Transfer - Community Housing Tenants Only CH3003 form available from your housing provider or the DCJ website. You also need to provide your supporting evidence.

You also need to provide evidence that your household income does not exceed the income limits for social housing, please see the fact sheet applying for social housing.

Your need for a transfer is based on the information in your application and any supporting documentation that you provide. You will be advised in writing about the outcome of your application.

What happens if I am eligible for transfer?

If you are eligible for transfer, your name will be added to the NSW Housing Register. The waiting time will depend on the reason you are seeking transfer and the number of suitable properties that become vacant in the required location.

What if I need to live in a particular area?

If you request social housing in a high demand area, you will need to show that:

  • the need to live in the area is significant and ongoing
  • this need cannot be met by housing being provided in another allocation zone
  • you are unable to travel to other locations to access services
  • housing in that area is essential for your wellbeing or that of your household.

You may have a locational need because of:

  • a chronic or severe medical condition
  • disability
  • access to support services
  • access to culturally appropriate services or facilities
  • educational needs
  • affinity with the area
  • employment opportunities
  • need to move from an ‘at risk’ situation.

I need to live in a particular type of housing

Any medical information you provide will be considered before deciding which properties are likely to be suitable. If you have special housing requirements due to an enduring medical condition, disability or permanent injury, you need to provide documented proof. This could be a medical assessment form, completed by a health professional or an occupational therapist’s report. Medical assessment forms are available from your housing provider or the DCJ website.

What happens if my locational preference is not approved?

If your request for housing in your preferred location is declined, you will be offered accommodation in another area that meets your housing need. Any special housing needs you have are taken into consideration.

Ineligibility for transfer

If you are not eligible, you will be advised in writing that your application for transfer has been declined.

How long will I wait?

Waiting times will vary depending on the area you have selected. See expected waiting times for more information.

If your transfer is approved for one of the following reasons it will be listed as a priority transfer on the NSW Housing Register:

  • ‘at risk’
  • under-occupancy (DCJ managed properties only)
  • medical condition and/or disability
  • serious and ongoing harassment
  • employment
  • compassionate grounds
  • severe overcrowding
  • family breakdown/separation
  • tenancy re-instatement.

See your housing provider for further information.

Other options

In some cases, your housing provider will ask you to move. This may be to sell or redevelop the property you are living in, or because you are living in a property that is larger than your household’s needs. If you are a DCJ Housing tenant, see the factsheet relocating tenants for management purposes. If you are a community housing tenant, visit your provider’s website for further information.

Mutual exchange

DCJ Housing has a mutual exchange program available to all tenants living in a DCJ managed tenancy. You can apply for a mutual exchange regardless of whether you are approved for transfer. For more information, please refer to the factsheet mutual exchange program, available online or from your local DCJ Housing office.

What if I disagree with the decision?

If you believe that the decision made is wrong, you should first discuss your concerns with your housing provider. If you still believe the decision made was wrong, you can ask to have the decision reviewed. To do this fill in the review of decisions form available from your housing provider or the DCJ website, or visit your community housing provider’s website for further information.

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Last updated: 16 Aug 2023