NewsHow Does Housing Work In The Army

How Does Housing Work In The Army


Differences Between Stateside And Overseas

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Before diving further into housing options, its critical to know how housing varies whether youre stationed in the Continental United States or outside itfor example, overseas .

When youre stationed CONUS, unless you live in government-owned base housing, youll receive a monthly BAH payment as part of your paycheck. The amount you receive is determined by your rank/pay grade, geographic location, and if you have dependents. Its up to you to use that money to pay your rent and any utilities if you have money left over.

If you find a place that costs less than your BAH, you can pocket the difference, so this can be a smart option in affordable areas. For example, if your BAH is $1,200 but your rent is $1,000, you still get the extra $200 and can spend it however you want. Conversely, in more expensive areas, you may end up paying some out of pocket. Though the BAH is calculated to cover rent but not mortgage payments, some service members choose to buy homes in order to build equity. Just be aware that the BAH doesnt account for costs of homeownership such as property taxes or insurance.

Service Family Accommodation And Substitute Service Family Accommodation

SFA is provided to entitled and eligible Service personnel and their families.

SFA is allocated within a reasonable distance from duty station, usually within a 10-mile radius.

The size of SFA is determined by rank or size of family.

Where SFA is not available, a private rental will be sourced, in line with the location and standards of SFA.

Coronavirus Latest News As Of 19 July 2021

COVID-19 guidance for the MOD Housing Community from 19 July 2021:

The government has issued direction that COVID-19 restrictions in England will be lifted from 19 of July 2021. Devolved administrations are also easing restrictions.

The safety of families living in Service Family Accommodation and Substitute Service Family Accommodation remains our top priority and with rates of COVID-19 continuing to rise throughout the UK, we want to reassure families that services to your homes will continue to be delivered safely and DIO and our Industry Partners will continue to maintain COVID-19 safe working practices including:

  • contractors will continue to call in advance of a visit to SFA/SSFA to ensure occupants are not self-isolating
  • all operatives will wear a face covering whilst working in SFA/SSFA
  • contractors will continue to sanitise their hands and equipment before entering an SFA/SSFA
  • social distancing protocols will continue to apply

For more guidance on how we will continue to ensure COVID-19 safe working practices in your homes please refer to COVID-19 guidance for the MOD Housing Community below.

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Your Thoughts On Military Housing

Have you heard anything else about military housing? Any updates on housing for members serving in the U.S. Space Force? Share your comments below! Be sure to bookmark our blog so you can come back next week for more about the military, veteran, and the military-to-civilian transition.

If youre on the job hunt, at 801-690-4085 or email Weve helped thousands of people get the job they deserve with our resume writing services and we know we can do the same for you. Satisfaction guaranteed!

Dr. Phillip Gold is President/CEO of Empire Resume and has vast experience writing resumes for service-members transitioning from the military into civilian roles. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force responsible for leading nuclear missile security. Phillip is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and holds a BA in Communications from The Ohio State University, an MS in Instructional Technology, an MBA in Finance, and a PhD in Finance.

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Find Flexibility In The Way You Can Serve

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People who join the full-time Army are commonly expected to work on a full-time basis. However the ADF has flexible work arrangements available such as the ability to work from home, work from another location or work outside your normal core hours.

With approval from Army and subject to service capability requirements, you may be able to work part-time to suit your current situation. Applications will only be considered after completion of recruit and Initial Employment Training, which will typically be several months after appointment/enlistment.

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Air Force And Army Dormitories

If your recruiter promised you condos, you’re out of luck. However, all of the services have implemented plans to improve single housing for enlisted personnel.

The Air Force was the first service to get started on the program and are arguably ahead of the other services. All airmen, outside of basic training and technical school are now entitled to a private room. The Air Force started with remodeling barracks into a concept called one-plus-one, which provided a private room, a small kitchen, and a bathroom and shower shared with one other person.

The Air Force has now upgraded its program using a concept called “Dorms-4-Airmen.” All new Air Force dormitories are now designed using this concept. Dormitories under this program are four-bedroom apartments. Airmen have a private room and private bath and share a kitchen, washer and dryer, and a living room with three other airmen.

The Army’s standard is a two-bedroom apartment, designed for two Soldiers. Each soldier gets a private bedroom, and they share a kitchen, bathroom, and living room.

Why Doesnt My Bah Rate Cover My Housing Expenses

Remember that median housing prices in your duty location along with your pay grade and number of dependents determine your BAH rate.

Choosing to live in a larger or smaller residence than the median will affect how far your BAH goes. If you buy or rent housing that is larger or more expensive than the median price range for your rank and dependent status, your BAH may not cover all of your expenses.

Additionally, choosing to live closer or further from your base may affect the rental prices. As with all real estate, it often comes down to location, location, location.

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The Problem With The Navy

The Navy had a serious problem when this initiative started. Thousands of their junior sailors were living on ships, even when their assigned ships were in port. To construct enough barracks on the Navy base to provide single rooms for all of these sailors would cost a fortune.

The Navy solved this problem by getting permission from Congress to use private industry to construct and operate privatized housing for lower-ranking single Sailors. Like the Army, this design is a two-bedroom apartment. Each Sailor will have a private bedroom, a private bathroom, and share a kitchen, dining area, and living room with another Sailor.

However, under the Navy’s Homeport Ashore initiative, Sailors assigned to ships which are in port must share a bedroom until additional funding becomes available to build new complexes.

Like privatized family housing the Sailor would pay the complex management monthly rent . The “rent” covers all utilities and rental insurance. The plan calls for the apartment complexes to include fitness facilities, media centers, and technology centers.

Military Housing: Everything You Need To Know

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Civilians generally have a vague idea of military life. Research shows understanding the military culture and lifestyle is a struggle for those without military experience. Although you constantly hear about the difficulties in transitioning from military to civilian life, one aspect of military life thats rarely discussed is military housing.

At Empire Resume, we dont just write military-to-civilian resumes. The knowledge and insight we share stems from first-hand knowledge of what its like to be in the military because our founder had the privilege of serving as Captain in the United States Air Force.

Read along as your favorite military resume writers describe all you need to know about military housing.

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Living In The Military Barracks

The first place you will probably live as a service member is in the barracks. While the barracks will range in sophistication and structure, you can compare them to the sleeping arrangements you may have had at summer camp or in college. As you move from basic training to initial, job-specific training, youll also move from open bays and communal bathrooms to rooms shared with one or two other service members and a shared, suite-style bathroom.

As you increase in rank, you may get a private room and bath, or even live in a shared apartment, with a kitchen and living area. Barracks rooms are available for single service members through a specific rank and sometimes above that rank, as room allows. They are also available for single service members living overseas or on a dependent-restricted tour. When you get married or when you reach a rank where you are allowed to live outside of the barracks youll have other housing options.

Each branch has specific rules for who is required to live in the barracks, and at which rank they are allowed to move out of the barracks and receive BAH. Check with your base housing office for more information.

Sfa Costs And Charges

Charges for service family accommodation for service personnel are set by the Armed Forces Pay Review Body. The current SFA accommodation charges are available on the Defence Intranet.

To access the accommodation charges, copy and paste the following URL into your browser address bar when logged on to the Defence Intranet:

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What Happens When My Bah Rates Change

In most cases, your BAH rate can only go up in a given area. When BAH rates increase for your housing area, your benefit will increase as well.

But, your rate will not go down in an area while youre living there BAH rate protection has you covered.

Service members are entitled to the BAH rates published Jan. 1 or the amount of housing allowance they received Dec. 31, whichever is larger.

Individual rate protection prevents decreases in housing allowances, as long as the service member doesnt have a change in status, such as:

  • A permanent change of station
  • A reduction in pay grade
  • A change in dependent status

Drawbacks Of Military Housing

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1) The lack of privacy.

The military community is small. The military housing community is even smaller. Some privatized housing communities are almost comparable to living on campus for school. Everyones all in each others space. Now, your neighbors knowing that your spouse is deployed or something is out of the ordinary can provide reassurance. But it also means that you’ll have far less privacy on base than youll find living off base.

Image from Canva

2) The few housing options.

Many military installations are old, which means many of the housing options on base are also…old. If not recently updated, you could end up living in a less-than-ideal home. What does that mean? Asbestos, mold, out-of-date finishes, dirty flooring, etc. While any military housing you live in should be up to code, youll likely forfeit desired amenities when you choose to live on base.

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Maintenance And Repairs Of Sfa And Ssfa

Amey is responsible for the maintenance of SFA in the United Kingdom.

This comprehensive service is free to occupants, who generally have little responsibility for the maintenance of their SFA – some examples of your responsibilities are listed below, see looking after your SFA.

However, customers are responsible for looking after their property and protecting it from damage, and damage caused may be subject to charges.

Uk Sfa Customer Survey

A monthly telephone survey of randomly selected customers is conducted by Opinion Research Service on behalf of the MOD. The aim of the research is to help MOD better understand the views of service personnel and families living in UK service family accommodation and substitute SFA .

Although customers do not have to take part, we encourage them to respond to this short survey as your opinions will be used to measure how DIO is performing and identify ways of making further improvements to the housing service that matter to you. Answers are treated in the strictest confidence and only used for research purposes.

If you have any queries about the survey, or would like to follow up a call, please phone ORS on 01792 535322. Please note that ORS only deal with SFA customer survey related issues.

The results of the survey are issued to key DIO accommodation stakeholders on a quarterly basis: DIO accommodation customer satisfaction tracker survey

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Entitlement For Sfa And Ssfa

To be entitled to apply for SFA, service personnel must:

  • be aged 18 and over
  • be married or in a civil partnership or who have permanent custody of children
  • have at least 6 months to serve

Service personnel who are in an established Long-Term Relationship ) are also eligible to cohabit in surplus SFA, when available. An LTR will be defined by specified criteria and recorded as such on Joint Personnel Administration .

SFA is at service personnels duty station or within a set radius although you may be eligible to apply for surplus SFA at other locations.

The type of property you are entitled to is usually dependent on your rank for officers and family size for other ranks. When you apply for SFA, Amey Occupancy Services Team will allocate you a property using the preferences you have expressed and based on your entitlement or eligibility, competing requirements, and service agreements.

Full details on entitlement and eligibility for UK SFA and Substitute service family accommodation are available in:

The Welcome Return Of Surplus Sfa

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Surplus SFA used to be an endangered beast in military housing however, as a result of rebasing and ongoing changes to the Defence Estate, there is currently a surplus of SFA in certain areas .

Some of these SFA are being earmarked for inclusion into the private sub-let programme however, those serving persons who are eligible for SFA, but not entitled, are also able to apply for these SFA.


Currently, in order to be entitled to SFA you need to be married or have sole custody of any children.

AFF is very aware that serving parents who are divorced, but dont have sole custody of their children, can find it very difficult to source suitable accommodation when the children come to stay.

We hope that accessing these surplus SFA will help many in this particular group to improve their family stability.

Find out more

To apply for a surplus SFA, please contact Amey on 0800 707 6000 option 3 to check if surplus is available in the required area, and then apply via the e1132 on DII.

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Applying For Service Family Accommodation

All applications for housing within the UK are made using the e1132 Self Preference form via DII or intranet enabled terminals. The e1132 Self Preference form is hosted on the Defence Intranet, rather than the Internet, to ensure security of data and can be found on the Admin tab.

The online form offers applicants advantages over the paper version as it:

  • provides information throughout the form to help you complete it.
  • validates the information to ensure you cant submit an incomplete form.
  • allows you to save your form so you can complete it later.
  • allows you to track the progress of your application.
  • means your information can be directly transferred to systems, which could speed up the process.
  • allows you to see which properties are available within your entitlement and register three properties in priority order of preference .

However, the availability of SFA has not increased, and so the e1132 cannot guarantee that you will get your choice of housing the same supply/demand problems still exist.

Your application must be made on a DII terminal . There is a Print Details tab for all properties that produces a PDF with all the property details. Your soldier can either email this home or print it and take it home.

What the e1132 can and cant do

The process means that all correspondence will be done electronically your soldier can track progress, sign the Licence to Occupy and book your pre-move -out, move-out and move-in appointments online.

Paper version of the 1132

Empire Resume Myth Buster: Military Housing Is Really Not Free

Before we get started, lets take a moment to debunk the most common myth about military housing.

If youre like most people, you think the government offers housing for military members and their families, much like the government provides uniforms, employment, and healthcare.

Youre right, it does. But not quite.

Government housing comes with exceptions and most importantly, it comes at a cost. A portion of the members pay is reserved for Basic Housing Allowance or BAH to help offset the cost of housing.

Additionally, military housing is not the same for every servicemember due to military rank, location, and family circumstances.

Interested in hearing more about BAH? We invite you to learn more about how military pay works.

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Military Base Housing Pros And Cons Of Living On Base

Advertiser Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the authors alone. This article may contain links from our advertisers. For more information, please see our .

Every time a military family gets orders to a new base, they are faced with this important question: where to live? All married service members receive a Basic Allowance for Housing to cover their rent. The family can choose to live on base in government housing, in which case the BAH will be automatically deducted from the paycheck and sent to the property management company. If the family decides to live off base, they can rent or buy any property they choose and apply the BAH towards rent and utility bills.

There is no magic answer for which solution is best. In fact, there may be some bases where it is best for your family to live off base, and others where it works better to live on base. Our family has lived off base at two different locations, and on base twice, too. Every choice has its own pros and cons. In fact, there are so many factors to consider that we are breaking this into two different articles. Todays post will discuss the pros and cons of living ON base in military housing.

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