From March 2024, the MOD will begin introducing a New Accommodation Offer for our Armed Forces. Some of the changes will be available immediately whilst others may only apply to you when you are assigned to a new role, when your personal circumstances change, or at the end of the three-year transition period.
The New Accommodation Offer will modernise accommodation entitlements, improve the standard of Single Living Accommodation, update the Overseas Accommodation Offer and, overall, give Service personnel and their families more of a say in how they live.
The development and design of the policy has been informed by research and engagement with Service personnel and families, including through a three-year pilot which led to changes to the policy and how it is implemented.
Changes to family accommodation entitlements
Who will be entitled to family accommodation in future?
Service personnel in an Established Long Term Relationship will be given the same accommodation entitlement as those who are married or in a civil partnership.
Service personnel who have eligible child(ren) who stay with you for more than 80 nights per calendar year, you will be able to benefit from Service Family Accommodation.
Single Service personnel will also be able to apply for family accommodation.
What will the size of family accommodation be based on?
Service personnel of all ranks will receive an entitlement to accommodation based on their need, for most this will be linked to the size of their immediate family. Where availability allows, personnel will have greater flexibility to choose a property that is above or below their entitlement if they feel that would suit their family better.
Does basing accommodation on need rather than rank erode ‘the offer’?
Some Service personnel will see a reduction in their accommodation entitlement under the New Accommodation Offer, but many will have access to subsidised accommodation in a way they have not previously. We should not forget that many personnel do not live in Service accommodation and therefore do not receive any ‘reward’ from rank-based entitlements – moving to a needs-based model means all personnel will be supported equitably to meet their accommodation and Service needs. All Service personnel in MOD-supported family accommodation will still receive heavily subsidised housing in comparison to those who reside outside the system.
Will charging be based on ‘need’ or will it remain with rank?
Under a needs-based model, Service personnel will pay the appropriate charge or rent for the property they occupy, and this will not differ by rank. Offering greater flexibility between Service Family Accommodation types, may mean personnel have more opportunity to pay more, or less for their property based on what they want from their accommodation and their own assessment of their spending power and lifestyle priorities.
Will those Service personnel whose entitlement will reduce on transition to the New Accommodation Offer be protected?
If personnel experience a reduction in their entitlement because of the new offer, they will be eligible to ‘Transitional Protection. This will give them access to a similar property to what they are current entitled to for a three-year transition period after the launch of the new offer on the 11 March 2024.
Do the new entitlements apply to those overseas?
This policy currently only applies to all those who receive an assignment order for a UK based role. The overseas offer is being considered as a separate piece of work.
Will Single Living Accommodation entitlements change?
Longer term accommodation policy work is looking at how Single Living Accommodation structures can be used to support the wants and needs of Service personnel better. This includes considering the role of rank in allocating accommodation.
If I am in surplus accommodation in a Established Long Term Relationship, do I need to move?
No. If you are already in an Established Long Term Relationship and occupying surplus Service Family Accommodation under legacy policy, you will remain on your surplus license until your next assignment post the launch date when you can apply under the New Accommodation Offer.
Is support for parents with children who only live with them some of the time going to be continued under the New Accommodation Offer?
Yes. If eligible, parents with child(ren) who stay with them for 80 nights or more per year will be entitled to subsidised family accommodation.
Use of private rental accommodation
What happens if Service Family Accommodation is not available?
At some locations, there may not be enough Service Family Accommodation for all entitled Service personnel who request it. At these locations, the private rental sector will be used, and personnel will be given practical and financial support, adjusted for the local market, to source a home. Where possible, preferences for MOD-provided Service Family Accommodation or self-sourced rental accommodation will be met. If there are specific reasons why a Service family cannot source their own rental accommodation, substitute Service Family Accommodation may be sourced on their behalf.
Why are you using rental properties when they are becoming more expensive?
Changes to how we manage the estate will help maximise the use of Service Family Accommodation, but it is likely there will be some locations where there are not enough MOD-provided properties for every family that wants one. Rental payments will be reviewed regularly to ensure Service personnel placed into the Private Rental Sector receive appropriate financial support.
What support will be available to Service personnel placed into the Private Rental Sector?
When a Service person is placed into the Private Rental Sector, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation will pass their details onto the Accommodation Support Cell, a national team designed to support personnel and their families through the process and answer any questions on the new policy. The Accommodation Support Cell will signpost to resources available to secure a property, help personnel through the process, and review any evidence presented if there are difficulties in finding a property.
In addition to this, Unit HR, Chain of Command and the Accommodation Colonels will be on hand to support Service personnel with any immediate questions.
Does using the Private Rental Sector place too great an administrative burden on Service personnel and their families?
Lord Ashcroft’s 2014 review of transition and more recent work by Forces in Mind Trust (Rolfe, 2020) identified lack of awareness of civilian housing matters as a significant factor in poor accommodation outcomes at transition – supporting Service personnel to learn these skills whilst still in Service is one way we can help address this.
Lessons have been learned during the Future Accommodation Model Pilot and Service personnel will be supported by the dedicated Accommodation Support Cell. Personnel, their families and partners will be able to contact the cell to help them navigate the private rental sector and we are also rolling out dedicated training to HR points of contact.
To contact the Accommodation Support Cell email: [email protected]
Do you anticipate removing Service Family Accommodation under The New Accommodation Offer?
No. Service Family Accommodation continues to play a key role in providing subsidised accommodation for Service personnel now and in the future. The New Accommodation Offer will not directly result in any being removed from the Defence Portfolio.
Will private rental accommodation be used in Northern Ireland?
The policy applies equally in Northern Ireland. Given security considerations a tailored process will be in place for those who may need to find accommodation in the Private Rental Sector.
What’s the role of the Accommodation Support Cell?
The Accommodation Support Cell is a dedicated team of Civil Servants who, from the 19 Sept 2023, will provide support on the New Accommodation Offer.
The Accommodation Support Cell core role is threefold:
- to provide support to Service personnel with policy questions and queries on the New Accommodation Offer, including the different allowances available and how to claim them.
- to provide support to Service personnel placed into the Private Rental Sector, and signposting to resources available to secure a property.
- to review evidence presented by a service person who has difficulty finding a property in the Private Rental Sector and either directing that further action is needed or escalating the case to the Accommodation Colonel for decision.
The Accommodation Support Cell is being set up to complement the existing Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Industry Partner and Accommodation Colonel teams in the services they will provide to Service personnel on the New Accommodation Offer.
Can the Accommodation Support Cell help me find and secure a property if I’m placed into the Private Rental Sector?
The Accommodation Support Cell will provide you with policy, geographical and logistical support in your search, and offer advice on any additional resources and support that may be available to you. They are not designed to source properties in the way that Mears, our industry partner, has sourced SSSA and SSFA in the past. However, over time, the Accommodation Support Cell will build local area knowledge which will assist you in your search. They do not have legally qualified personnel; therefore, they cannot offer advice on leases etc.
Timelines for the New Accommodation Offer
When will the New Accommodation Offer be available for SP?
Starting from March 2024, the MOD will begin introducing a New Accommodation Offer for our Armed Forces. Some of the changes will be available immediately whilst others may only apply to you when you are assigned to a new role or at the end of the three-year transition period.
Why has the New Accommodation Offer been delayed from the October launch date?
We have learned lessons from the FAM pilot and other Defence programmes. We need to ensure that we have thoroughly tested all our systems ahead of launch to ensure that Service Personnel have the experience that they expect and deserve. We have therefore had to delay the roll out to 11 March 2024 to enable us to ensure we’re ready for launch.
Is there anything I need to do right now?
No, you will continue to use the current accommodation policy, as set out in JSP 464, until further notice.
Those who believe that they might be entitled when the policy goes live on the 11 March 2024 are encouraged to ensure that their Established Long Term Relationship status is formally recorded on JPA in accordance with Paragraphs 0116 and 0117 in JSP 464, Vol.1 Part 1.
How are Service families updated and informed of the New Accommodation Offer progress?
We will run an extensive communication package ready for the launch of the New Accommodation Offer starting in September 2023 and beyond.
We have actively consulted Service personnel, families, partners and representatives to understand their preferences and use this information to help develop the communication plan. We continue to seek innovative platforms including face-to-face opportunities, social media and online briefings.
Over the coming months the Defence Accommodation Policy team will deliver three ‘New Accommodation Offer Roadshows’ open to personnel, their families and partners on:
28 September at RAF Brize Norton
Morning 10:00-11:30 Afternoon 14:00 to 15:30 Evening 18:00-19:30
11 October at Catterick Garrison
Morning 10:00-11:30 Afternoon 14:00 to 15:30 Evening 18:00-19:30
- 25 October at HMS Collingwood
Morning 10:00-11:30 Afternoon 14:00 to 15:30 Evening 18:00-19:30
For more information on how to attend email: [email protected]
Who can I talk to for further information?
There will be a lot more detail on the New Accommodation Offer over the coming months including the publication of the updated JSP in November and specific information packs designed for the Service person and the Chain of Command. In the meantime, if you have any questions on the new offer, you can find further detail on:
- uk (Defence Accommodation Policy page)
- Discover My Benefits (General Accommodation)
- Defence Connect (Defence Accommodation Policy)
In addition, from 19 September a new Accommodation Support Cell team will be on hand to answer any questions or queries Service personnel have on the New Accommodation Offer. They will then be in place to fully support Service personnel through their search for private rental when the process goes live in March 24.
For more information contact: [email protected]
Widening Accommodation Entitlement (Limited Locations)
Under the Widening of Accommodation Entitlement at limited locations (WAE(LL)), Service personnel who in an Established Long Term Relationship assigned to select locations after 31 October 23 will be entitled to Service Family Accommodation under current policy in the same way as those who are married or in civil partnerships.
WAE(LL) will run until the launch of the New Accommodation Offer in March 24.
This is a first step in delivering the commitment made in the Defence Accommodation Strategy (2022) to allocate accommodation to personnel in Established Long Term Relationship on the same basis as those who are married or in civil partnerships.
Which sites are part of the WAE(LL)?
The following sites will offer widened entitlement:
- RMB Norton Manor
- RNAS Yeovilton
- Leuchars Station
- JHC Aldergrove
- Palace Barracks Holywood
- Thiepval Barracks Lisburn
- RAF Cosford
- RAF Shawbury
Widening entitlement to a small number of initial sites will help us understand demand for Service Family Accommodation without overwhelming the systems that allocate accommodation. This will enable us to prepare for a smoother launch of the New Accommodation Offer in March 2024.
Who is eligible for WAE(LL)?
To be eligible for WAE(LL) Service personnel must:
- Receive an assignment order to one of the eight sites with a report for duty date on or after 31 October 23, and before 11 March 24; and,
- Be in an Established Long Term Relationship. In line with current policy, Service personnel will need to register their relationship status on JPA and have it verified by Unit HR.
What are the eligibility criteria for Established Long Term Relationship?
The evidence requirements and registration process for an Established Long Term Relationship are defined at Paragraphs 0116 and 0117 in JSP 464, Vol.1 Part 1.
What is the new entitlement?
Under WAE(LL), Service personnel who in an Established Long Term Relationship with a report for duty date at select locations after 31 October 23 will be entitled to Service Family Accommodation under current policy in the same way as those who are married or in civil partnerships.
Will I be entitled to other allowances in the same way as married personnel?
There is no entitlement or eligibility for any other supporting payments or allowances conferred by the Established Long Term Relationship status being treated as entitled to Service Family Accommodation.
Will LTR(E) also be able to claim the same allowances as those married, removals for example?
Question asked by RAFFF follower – this is the response from the New Accommodation Team
Such components (furniture package, moves at public expense where applicable etc.) are best thought of as part of the overall “SFA offer”, and there will be parity between those in LTR(E) and CP / Marriage in terms of that “SFA offer”.
How do I apply for WAE(LL)?
From 20 September, any eligible E1132 forms submitted will be treated under the WAE(LL) policy.
If Service Family Accommodation is unavailable, Substitute Service Family Accommodation in line with your entitlement will be sourced for you.
What if I’m already at one of the sites or my Report for Duty Date is before 31 October 2023?
If you are in an Established Long Term Relationship and assigned to one of the eight sites prior to 31 October 23 you will not be entitled to Service Family Accommodation. You may still apply for surplus Service Family Accommodation as per JSP 464 Vol.1 Part 1 Section V.
If you are already living in surplus Service Family Accommodation at any of the sites you will not be required to move out to accommodate Service personnel arriving on assignment.
If I have a report for duty date after 31 October 23 at one of the sites and have already submitted an application for surplus Service Family Accommodation, can I withdraw it and resubmit it to benefit from the WAE(LL)?
All E1132 applications from Service personnel in an Established Long Term Relationship from the 20 September 23 and with a report for duty date on or after 31 Oct 23 at one of the WAE(LL) sites will be treated as entitled to Service Family Accommodation in line with WAE(LL) policy. If you have submitted an application before this date, hoping to make use of surplus Service Family Accommodation under current policy, you can resubmit your E1132 to be treated under WAE(LL) providing you meet the WAE(LL) eligibility criteria.
What happens if I’m assigned to one of the eight sites and there’s no Service Family Accommodation?
If Service Family Accommodation is unavailable, Substitute Service Family Accommodation in line with the Service personnel’s entitlement will be sourced for them from the Private Rental Sector.
What happens when I move to another site?
If the Service personnel is assigned after the New Accommodation Offer launches in March 24, they will move onto the New Accommodation Offer.
Service person assigned to one of the WAE(LL) site, in the unlikely situation they are reassigned to a different site before 11 March 24 which is not one of the eight WAE(LL) sites, this move will take place under current policy. The Service person may choose to apply for Service Family Accommodation on a surplus basis as per JSP 464 Vol.1 Part 1 Section V, but there will be no preserved rights to the entitlement gained under WAE(LL).
What happens to the WAE(LL) entitlement when the New Accommodation Offer is launched
The entitlement gained under WAE(LL) may not be the same as the Service personnel’s future entitlement under the New Accommodation Offer. Service personnel will retain their WAE(LL) entitlement until they transition onto the new offer.
I’ve not been assigned to one of these sites, when will I be able to apply?
The New Accommodation Offer will introduce new accommodation entitlements across all UK sites. Further details of when you will be able to apply under the new offer will be released ahead of its launch in March 2024.
Who can I talk to for further information?
Current accommodation policy will apply to those assigned to these sites from 31 October 23 until a Service personnel’s next assignment or where there is a change in personnel circumstances.
Service personnel will continue to follow existing processes and apply in the same way as now. Further information on the WAE(LL) can be found on the Defence Accommodation Policy site.