Future Accommodation Model (FAM)

Important message from the FAM team – a COVID-19 update

What will it mean to me?

From 1 June 2020 the new pilot for the Future Accommodation Model (FAM) will be rolled out at RAF Wittering, following a successful launch at HMNB Clyde and Aldershot Garrison. This means that if you’d like to try living in a different way, in a different place, or with different people you can. You have new options with FAM, including renting or buying a home with support from the MOD.

The support you could receive will depend on which of the four options you choose:

• Single Living Accommodation: You can choose to live in SLA and the current charges will apply.

• Service Families Accommodation: You can choose to live in SFA if you are in a long term established relationship, married, or in a civil partnership and the current charges will apply

• Private Rental Sector: You can choose to rent a home if you’re single, or in a relationship. You can live alone, with friends or with family. Every month you will receive a core payment, plus a geographic payment from the MOD that takes account of how expensive the area is, and how many children you have. You can see exactly what your payment will be by using the FAM calculator on the Discover My Benefits website. The website also helps you work out the allowances – for things like a deposit on your rental property and first month’s rent advance – that you can also receive through FAM.

• Buy a home: You can choose to buy a property with support from the MOD, with a monthly payment to put towards your mortgage. You could also receive associated moving costs, and may also be eligible for a one off Refund of Legal expenses if you’re a first time buyer. In this edition we’re focusing on what FAM will mean to you, whether you are joining RAF Wittering on a new posting, already live at the base or are heading out.

If you are assigned to RAF Wittering with a Report for Duty Date on or after 1 June 2020

If you are assigned to Wittering after the FAM pilot starts there on 1 June, then the new FAM policy will automatically apply to you, as long as you:

• Are in Regular or Full Time Reserve Service (Full Commitment)

• Have 4 years’ service in the military

• Belong to an eligible unit (check DefNet for the list of UINs or ask the FAM Cell)

• Are assigned for 12 months or more

If you don’t meet all of the four criteria above then current accommodation rules apply, until such time as your situation changes (for example once you reach 4 years’ service).

If you do meet all the criteria and want to rent in the private sector, or live in SFA or in SLA you will need to submit an Accommodation Preference Form via JPA. You can submit your form from 2nd March 2020, as this means that you will be able to plan and move in to your new accommodation smoothly in advance of your start date. If you want to buy a home after 1 June 2020 you do not need to complete an Accommodation Preference Form, instead take your legal paperwork to your Unit HR.

For any questions on the options FAM opens up for you or your family, you can talk to the new FAM Cell at RAF Wittering. The team is keen to answer your questions, provide information on how to complete your Accommodation Preference Form on JPA, and to signpost helpful resources like the gov.uk FAM page that includes lots more detail on the policy. The FAM Implementation lead Danielle Rigby says:

“As the FAM Cell we’re here to offer support. We’re always open to answering questions, whether they’re about paperwork or the allowances available to cover moves into the private rental sector, plus everything else in between. Our aim is to be part of the community here, as well as a resource for RAF personnel and their families who are moving Wittering and want to settle in a home that works for them.”

You can contact the FAM Cell by emailing people-famcell-wit@mod.gov.uk or by visiting them in their office at RAF Wittering, Building 118 (FAM Cell), Peterborough, Cambs, PE8 6HB. They can help you through the process and next steps.

If you are already based at RAF Wittering

If you are already working at RAF Wittering before the pilot goes live with the FAM pilot on 1 June, then you can opt in to FAM, as long as you:

• Are in Regular or Full Time Reserve Service (Full Commitment)

• Have 4 years’ service in the military

• Belong to an eligible unit (check DefNet for the list of UINs or ask the FAM Cell)

• Have 12 months or more left on your posting If you don’t meet all of the four criteria above then current accommodation rules apply, until such time as your situation changes (for example once you reach 4 years’ service). If you currently live at RAF Wittering and don’t want to change your accommodation the good news is you don’t have to!

Nobody is being forced to change the way they live. It is important to know that if you meet the four criteria above and already rent, or own a property more than 50 miles from Wittering you could access FAM payments to support you in the way you already live; if you live in a rented home submit an Accommodation Preference Form via JPA, if you own a home all you need to do is take your legal paperwork to your Unit HR.

If you are living at RAF Wittering and do wish to change your accommodation you will need to submit an Accommodation Preference Form via JPA, which you can do from 1 June 2020. If you buy a home after 1 June 2020 you do not need to complete an Accommodation Preference Form, instead take your legal paperwork to your Unit HR.

With FAM you can live in a way that better fits your requirements and your lifestyle. This is already happening for the first people to use FAM; the sailors and their families who are based in Scotland and who have opted to change their accommodation. Submariner Aaron Chapman and his wife Hannah have moved out of SFA and into a privately rented four-bed property with their children thanks to FAM. Speaking at the launch Hannah said: “It just makes sense really to have a bigger property for the very similar price that you’d pay for married quarters anyway. It’s just a win, win situation really.” Also making the most of the new options is Physical Training Instructor Peter Oswald, who has bought his forever home with his wife, thanks to FAM. He explains how he heard about the pilot: “Essentially, we realised that as new buyers we’d be getting £125 towards our mortgage every month, which is absolutely phenomenal. Then, there’s also money to cover legal fees for first time buyers too. Plus, we’ve been able to use Forces Help to Buy as well. We knew we had to jump on it.”

More comments and video stories from early FAM users

If you are leaving RAF Wittering If you are assigned away from RAF Wittering during the three years of the FAM pilot and FAM has given you new accommodation options, you may be able to take your new accommodation entitlement with you – this is called Preserved Rights. Otherwise, you will revert to the existing accommodation system.

The Future Accommodation Model gives you more choice over where, how and with whom you live. What will you choose to do?

Find out more on GOV.UK