Somewhere to live
Think about this as early as you can. The RAF families who participated in our case study research had either owned a property in the past or already owned the property they intended to move to. Several had already settled partners and family in their own homes and were serving married unaccompanied for the remainder of their service.
Serving personnel and their spouses/partners can attend a JSHAO Housing Brief (more information below) at any time in their military service and these offer lots of help and advice on civilian housing options.
“[deciding where to settle and} buying a house in advance really lessens feelings of insecurity” RAF family
“I’m very glad to have been able to organise the sale and purchase of our home ahead of actual leaving, otherwise it would have been so much more stressful.” RAF family
Our research showed the top three reasons for choosing an area to live were: already owning a property there, being near to family and employment prospects.
Some practical help
Final Move Removals Expenses and Disturbance Expenses
If you are able to decide where you want to live plenty of time in advance you may also be able to benefit from ‘Final Tour of Duty’ regulation if you are eligible. This regulation will enable to you to request a posting for your final tour to where you want to settle, or if the request cannot be met, your removal and disturbance expenses will be paid when you do eventually move to where you settle. Look at JSP752 chapter 7 or ask advice from station HR personnel.
Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO)
The JSHAO is the MOD’s tri-service focal point to provide service personnel and their families with civilian housing information for those wishing to move to civilian accommodation at any time in their career, and for those during resettlement to assist with the transition to civilian life.
They have a magazine ‘Housing Matters’ which you can often find in your local HIVE, or download from their website. They run briefs, mentioned above and can offer advice and guidance over the phone on a range of housing related issues including Forces Help to Buy.
They also run an e-version of the housing brief for those unable to attend in person. It can currently accessed through the Defence Gateway so a spouse or partner wishing to access it will need to do so with their serving partner who will have a login. It is one of the Families Transition project’s recommendations that this become more widely accessible for families.
Vacating SFA on leaving
There are some links to guides to SFA occupation on the housing section of our website.
When you are leaving the service and moving to alternative accommodation you must notify DIO’s Loss of Entitlement Team and you will be sent your Notice to Vacate (NTV) (your notice period will depend on the circumstances of your leaving but is generally 93 days). Official guidance can be found on the GOV website.
It is possible to ask for an extension to remain in your SFA, where there is good availability, although you will be charged market rate for the property and it will normally be for a maximum of 6 months. For any queries or issues contact DIO Loss of Entitlement team on 01904 418000 (Military 94510 8000) or email DIOSDAccn-LOETeam@mod.uk
Local Authorities and the Devolved Administrations
These can often be great sources of advice and information and many, under the auspices of the Armed Forces Covenant, have developed armed forces family specific information. We have gathered some examples for you under the headings.