From March 2024, the MOD will start rolling out a New Accommodation Offer for the military, giving Service personnel, their families and partners more of a say in how they live.
Planned changes will also modernise accommodation entitlements, improve the standard of Single Living Accommodation (SLA), and improve the Forces Help to Buy incentive.
Some of the changes will happen immediately, whilst others may only affect personnel when they are assigned to a new role or at the end of the three-year transition period.
One of the key elements of the offer is needs-based allocation – where allocation of family accommodation will be based on family and not the rank of the service person.
Personnel in a registered Established Long-Term Relationship will be entitled to accommodation on the same basis as those who are married or in a civil partnership.
Children whose main home is elsewhere but spend more than 80 nights in a calendar year with the Service person will also now count towards accommodation entitlement.
Improved choices, better standards and more support for first time buyers
Service personnel will have more flexibility to choose their next home. This means that most personnel who previously had a rank-based entitlement will still be able to choose the same size of home as before, subject to availability. If they cannot, they will be offered ‘transitional protection’ to a similar property as before until the end of the transition period.
However, demand is likely to exceed available MOD-held Service Family Accommodation (SFA) at some locations, and families may choose, or be required, to rent privately. Payments to cover the costs associated with renting from the private sector will be met by the MOD.
A minimum standard for SLA has been agreed and the entire SLA estate is already being assessed to understand where rooms are currently failing to meet this. This will inform where investment is needed.
Forces Help to Buy is already a permanent part of the MOD’s accommodation policy, but under the new accommodation offer there will be even more support for service personnel becoming first time buyers, through refunding up to £1,500 of their legal expenses.
Finally, the MOD is also looking ahead to rolling out as much of the new accommodation offer as possible overseas, beginning with pilots of specific aspects of the offer at selected locations.
It’s planned that overseas accommodation policy will be based on UK policy, making it easier to understand and take into account the different realities of living in other countries (such as where air conditioning is more important than loft insulation).
Service people will be finding out more about the New Accommodation Offer, and how and when they can benefit from it through their Chain of Command.