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Accommodation Tag

In December 2016, the first phase of the Portsmouth Naval Base Navy Mews were opened.  The vision was to transform unused office space and to re-purpose them into bespoke, self-contained units, which would give single serving parents the ideal environment to spend time and build relationships with their children when not away on deployment.

 

Explained by Commander Martin Evans, the Naval Base Executive Officer, the need for single parents to maintain quality time in a safe homely environment with their children was first identified back in 2010. The collaborative working between the Chain of Command, Accommodation Officer Sara Williams and the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) has successfully delivered the scheme.

During his last week as First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones unveiled a plaque during the opening of the two additional flats at HMS Nelson alongside Accommodation Officer Sara Williams. (@MOD Crown Copyright, 2019)

 

However, it became apparent that the need for Service personnel to retain contact with family went far beyond purely single parents and 2 additional flats were created in 2019. The expansion of the scheme is to assist in maintaining moral component of operational capacity for all Portsmouth Naval Base Service personnel as well as indirectly support operational outputs as a retention positive measure.

 

These facilities are located in Dreadnought Building and have been funded jointly by RNRMC, Naval Base Commander (Portsmouth) and HMS Nelson’s Leisure and Amenities Funds (LAF). Additional collaboration has also come in the form of many generous donations from a number of sources. Most rooms benefit from donated toys, games and books, providing the perfect environment for relationships to flourish.

 

All Service personnel are eligible to apply and each booking will be given a priority code (A, highest – E, lowest). Priority will be given to single separated parents with children. It is also worth noting that the cost of each flat varies according to the date(s) of the week required as well as the priority code you have been given, plus a mandatory payment per booking to cover accident insurance held by the LAF. There must be an Armed Forces sponsor to escort and remain with their guests at all times.

HRH The Princess Royal met LS Hooper, a single parent based at HMS Nelson, and his two daughters as she spent time visiting Navy Mews in late June 2019. (@MOD Crown Copyright, 2019)

 

The above information is to be reviewed by the Accommodation Office by May 2020. Please refer to Portsmouth Naval Base Temporary Memoranda (PNBTM) 32/19 for prices and full T&C. For booking and all other enquiries, please visit the Accommodation Office in Jervis Block. Alternatively, you can email Navynbcp-navynews@mod.uk or phone 02392 7222090.

 

Posted on: 21st June, 2017
Updated on: 11th July, 2019

 

**** Update: It has now been extended for a further three years – until the end of 2022. Please visit this page for more information. ****

 

A government scheme to help military families buy their own homes has been extended until the end of 2019.

 

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced yesterday (3rd December 2018) that the Forces Help to Buy initiative will remain open to new applications until 31st December 2019.

 

The scheme, established in April 2014, aims to address the low rate of home ownership in the Armed Forces by making it easier to take the first step onto the housing ladder, move to another property on assignment or make alterations to an existing home as family needs change.

 

Serving personnel who meet the criteria can borrow up to half of their annual salary, interest free – up to a maximum of £25,000 – to pay towards a deposit and other costs such as solicitor’s or estate agent’s fees.

 

More than 16,000 applicants have benefited from the scheme so far.

 

Following the announcement of this extension, Mr Williamson said:

“Everyone dreams of owning their own home, and this hugely popular scheme has already helped thousands of Service personnel realise that dream.

“By extending the scheme by a further year I really hope we can help many more first-time buyers, families and married couples get a foot on the property ladder.’’

 

Anna Wright, CEO of the Naval Families Federation, said:

“We were absolutely delighted to hear about the extension to this popular scheme.

“Our research shows that there is a strong aspiration to be a home owner amongst Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their families. Having this option offers families more choice about where they live. They may choose to be close to a spouse’s employment or to particular schools.”

 

If you would like to know more about this scheme and your eligibility, please visit this link here. To read more about the Future Accommodation Model (FAM), which is the MOD’s housing pilot for serving personnel, visit here.

 

The Naval Families Federation welcomes your views on FHtB and FAM. Please do contact us.

 

Posted on: 4th December 2018
Updated on: 22nd October, 2019

The Future Accommodation Model (FAM) survey results have now been published. These will be used as part of the on-going policy development for the FAM, which will combine the survey with other results (e.g. the single Service Families Federations’ surveys) and Focus Group findings to refine the accommodation offer based on your feedback.

 

A Tri-Service FAM pilot scheme will be carried out in several locations throughout the UK. This was due to start in December 2018 but will now take place in 2019. Ministers are expected to confirm locations and start dates next year. The scheme is planned to run for two years and there will be a consultation period on completion of this. FAM is expected to be gradually introduced once the consultation period is complete.

 

To read the report in full please click here.

 

In addition, thank you to everyone who took part in our Future of Accommodation Model survey.

 

Here are the headlines of our findings from the Naval community.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Last updated on: 25th October, 2018

There are houses or flats available to personnel who need temporary accommodation for short periods of time, either for themselves or their family. To find Contact Housing in your area, please visit the NS FPS website.

 

Short Term Family Accommodation (STFA)

Short Term Family Accommodation is a group of Service Family Accommodation properties which have been set aside for use as temporary self-catering accommodation primarily for welfare reasons.

The Scheme is aimed at enabling Service personnel to utilise these facilities for both themselves and visiting friends or family members with priority always given to welfare/compassionate cases.

Service Personnel, Veterans, MOD civilians and their families can expect fully equipped Service Family Accommodation with everything they need, from duvets and linen, to TV/DVD players and cooking facilities. Properties are available for a minimum stay of two nights to a maximum stay of six months.

For further information, please click here.

 

Cotswold Centre

The Services Cotswold Centre provides secure and affordable temporary housing for serving personnel and their families from all three services.

The Centre is primarily open to those that are:

  • subject of emergency evacuation from overseas;
  • in transit between postings or retiring;
  • with welfare housing issues.

The accommodation is located near Corsham, Wiltshire. It can provide accommodation for up to six months. It comprises of 60 self-contained homes.

The three bedroom chalets and converted flatlets are all self catering. They are fully furnished and include a TV, fridge/freezer, crockery, bedding and towels. On-site facilities include a primary school.

Families may be accommodated if they are:

  • a Service person and/or their spouse/civil partner, whether or not they are accompanied by children or any other authorised immediate family members;
  • estranged families/spouses/civil partners of personnel who are able to cover the costs of their accommodation and living expenses;
  • injured personnel, their carers and/or immediate family members, where authorised by the Officer Commanding of the Centre and welfare providers – for the purposes of recuperation during rehabilitation.

This may include those in receipt of a Family Maintenance Grant. Families in UK SFA will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances – with authority from the single Service Housing Colonels.

Where a requirement falls outside of this eligibility, the parent Unit should seek advice from the Officer Commanding of the Centre.

Personnel should see 2015DIN01-029 on the Defence Intranet for further details, including the full eligibility criteria and the priority order for housing people in the Centre.

 

Navy Mews

The plan to take a tired and unused office space and re-purpose it into bespoke, self-contained units has been through many phases and challenges. However, as the New Year started, the official opening of the Royal Navy’s three new single parent units in Dreadnaught Block, HMS Nelson, turned plans into reality.

The aim behind the project is to give single serving parents the ideal environment to spend time and build relationships with their children when not away on deployment.

For some time a solution has been sought to address the challenges of finding a safe and comfortable place for personnel to use, and the Royal Navy hopes this will prove to be a huge step in helping separated families.

Commander Martin Evans, the Naval Base Executive Officer, explained:

“We identified a need back in 2010. If a Service person is the primary care-giver in a child’s life, the MOD will always provide a permanent home, however, separated single parents often struggle to retain quality contact because of a combination of the constraints imposed by Service life, the costs involved and significantly, the lack of an accessible home from home facility. We wanted to provide somewhere where these parents can have a semblance of normality, where they can eat together, play together and bond in a home environment – rather than a hotel and a weekend of fast food.

The project is a great example of collaborative working. RNRMC took on the mantle of securing the funding needed to deliver the project, successfully bidding for and raising the £250,000 required. This was just the tip of the iceberg in a project of this size and ambition. RNRMC’s Director of Relationships and Funding, Mandy Lindley said, “I am really delighted to see this project materialize. The close cooperative working with the Chain of Command and the Accommodation Officer, Sara Williams, has delivered, despite the many challenges that presented themselves as we progressed this plan. I have been involved with this project since arriving with RNRMC some 18 months ago and have seen the highs and the lows, and witnessed the sheer determination and innovation needed to ensure that this truly valuable resource could be made available for families.”

The three apartments each have a theme: ‘Poppy’ which has been adapted for any visitors who may need easier access or who have additional needs: ‘Shabby Chic’; and ‘Beach’. The finishing touches for each of the themed ‘Mews’ have been supplied via an innovative scheme which has involved the creative work of the wives and partners who attend ‘Friends at No 10’ (a Community House for Armed Forces families living in Portsmouth). Working with the Portsmouth based ‘Company of Makers’, the group from ‘Friends at No 10′ have created bespoke throws and cushions for the flats. Volunteers who attend the Friday sewing class, crafted unique, soft furnishings to help visitors feel welcome and at home.

Additional collaboration has come in the form of many generous donation from a number of sources, particularly from within the Service families’ community. Each room benefits from donated toys, games and books, providing the perfect environment for relationships to flourish.

To book Navy Mews, please call 02392 723 165 or email: NAVYNBCP-NAVYMEWS@mod.uk.

 

Stepping Stones

SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) have two Stepping Stones Homes in North West London and in Tyne & Wear. The Homes offer temporary supported accommodation to women with a Service connection (with or without children), who are in need of a secure environment and emergency accommodation. Applications should be made through the Welfare Authorities or Families Officers to SSAFA. More information can be found on the SSAFA website.

 

Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO)

The Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) website has information for those who need re-housing. There is information on homelessness, Council housing, and affordable housing schemes etc. You can also get information on JSHAO’s regular housing briefings and their Housing Matters Magazine. Click here to visit their website.

 

Contact Houses/Welcome Houses

Contact Houses or Welcome Houses are the houses or flats on an estate, which are available to personnel who need temporary accommodation for short periods of time, either for themselves or their family. To find Contact Housing in your area, please visit the NS FPS website.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 2nd December, 2019

When living in Service Family Accommodation (SFA), you will need to insure your home.

 

Standard home liability insurance does not cover Service family accommodation (SFA).

 

The Ministry of Defence recommends (JSP 464, Volume 1, Part 1, Section I, Paragraph 0605) that you take out a specialist type of insurance that covers your liability, up to £20,000, for any damage you or your family may do to your Service family accommodation. This is called ‘Licence to Occupy’ insurance.

 

The Services Insurance and Investment Advisory Panel (SIIAP) provides details of insurance providers who can ensure that you have the necessary ‘Licence to Occupy’ cover.

 

You may also wish to take out home contents insurance.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018

What is the scheme?

Regular Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel can benefit from a £200 million scheme to help them get on the property ladder. The Forces Help to Buy scheme enables Servicemen and Servicewomen to borrow up to 50% of their salary, interest free, to buy their first home or move to another property on assignment or as their families needs’ change.

The pilot scheme, which launched in April 2014, aims to address the low rate of home ownership in the Armed Forces.

 

Who can use the scheme?

All regular personnel who:

  • have completed 12 months service from the date of enlistment; AND
  • have completed Phase One Training.; AND
  • meet the right medical categories.

Please refer to JSP 464 (part 1 directive) for more details.

 

How much can be borrowed under the scheme?

This scheme allows Service personnel to borrow up to 50% of their annual salary, to a maximum of £25,000. This can be used towards a deposit and other costs such as solicitor’s and estate agent’s fees.

 

How to get it?

Servicemen and Servicewomen can apply for the loan online through the Joint Personnel Administration system and can seek advice on their application through their Chain of Command and personnel agency.

If you are considering buying a home, but have not done so before, you may wish to read some general information on how to buy one and understand better how the process works.

 

Find out about buying a home

Below are links to useful information:

First time buyer guide

Citizens Advice Bureau

The Money Advice Service

Moneyforce

Help to Buy

Home and Communities Agency

Joint service housing advice office (JSHAO)

HM Revenue & Customs guidance

 

Closing date
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced on 22nd October 2019 that the Forces Help to Buy initiative will remain open to new applications until the end of 2022.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 6th April, 2020

For enquiries about loss of entitlement to Service Family Accommodation (SFA) resulting from retirement, redundancy, discharge or estrangement, please contact the Loss of Entitlement Team by telephoning 01904 418000 or 94510 8000. Please note their phone lines are only operational between 9.00am – 12 noon and from 1.00pm – 3.00pm.

 

They are contactable via email throughout the whole working day at DIORDAccn-LOETeam@mod.gov.uk

 

 

If you believe that you will lose entitlement to SFA in the future, or find yourself in this situation, advice is available from a variety of sources. As well as the Joint Service Housing Advice Office, other sources of information and advice are: service charities; families federations; housing advice centres; and local authorities.

 

Customer service centres

There are a number of Amey Defence Services customer service centres throughout the UK. These offices provide you with the opportunity to discuss any issues about services provided by Amey Defence Service face-to-face.

 

To find your nearest local customer service centre either contact the Amey Defence Services Helpdesk on 0800 707 6000 or view the link above.

 

Base Port Agreement

If you are occupying SFA in one of the three Base Port Areas (Portsmouth, Plymouth or Faslane) then you can retain your SFA on assignment to a new Duty Station, but in advance of your assignment date you must log onto the e1132 form (application to occupy SFA) via the Defence Intranet. You need to click the button ‘retain current SFA on posting within the Base Port Scheme’. This should be done within 14 days of receiving your Assignment Order and should be done on each assignment in order for your retention expiry date to be amended. Your occupancy data is updated and your continued entitled occupation can be confirmed for allowance purposes or for disturbance if moving at a later date.

 

What happens in the background is that the stock management system then recognises you as part of the Naval Service and therefore able to remain in your Port Area. If you don’t inform the ‘system’ that you wish to remain it thinks that there is not a match between your assignment location and SFA location which prompts Amey Defence Services to issue you with a Notice to Vacate. You need to be aware that if you occupy Substitute SFA (SSFA) in one of the Port Areas retention will be granted, but you will be expected to move to SFA if and when there is suitable availability within that Port Area.

 

If you are serving away from a Base Port area and you are then assigned away from the area then you should apply for SFA at your next place of duty. There are exceptions to this regulation, however, you must apply for a retention.

 

There has to be explicit reasons to retain that are recognised under the regulations and you will need to provide appropriate supporting documentation at the time of the application. A number of retention criteria require Chain of Command support particularly for welfare or medical reasons when, in the first instance, the Local Service Commander will consider the case in consultation with appropriate medical, welfare (NS FPS and Divisional system), educational agencies and Amey Defence Services Occupancy Service. If agreed, retentions will be granted for a period of up to 12 months (you can re-request prior to expiry if the circumstances continue to persist) and confirms continued entitled occupation for allowance and disturbance purposes.

 

If a retention request is unsuccessful it does not form any kind of bar to future use of SFA, but it may be that if you wish to stay in a particular location (other than Port Area) for a period of time beyond assignment dates, then housing options outside the SFA estate will need to be considered such as rental or purchase. There are schemes for Tenancy Deposit Loans (DIB201516) which enables personnel to receive an advance of pay for rental properties or the Forces Help to Buy Scheme for assistance to buy into the property market. More information can be found here.

 

Tri-Service SFA and SSFA accommodation regulations are contained in JSP464 Volume 1 parts 1 and 2 here or via DII. Retention is fully covered in Chapter 7, Paragraph 0725 and includes guidance for all retention criteria.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 25th October, 2019

In general terms, Service personnel who are either married or in a Civil Partnership are entitled to Service Family Accommodation (SFA) within a ten-mile radius of their place of work.

 

If you are occupying SFA in one of the three Base Port Areas (Portsmouth, Plymouth or Faslane) then you can retain your SFA on assignment to a new Duty Station, but in advance of your assignment date you must log onto the e1132 form (application to occupy SFA) via the Defence Intranet. You need to click the button ‘retain current SFA on posting within the Base Port Scheme’. This should be done within 14 days of receiving your Assignment Order and should be done on each assignment in order for your retention expiry date to be amended. Your occupancy data is updated and your continued entitled occupation can be confirmed for allowance purposes or for disturbance if moving at a later date.

 

What happens in the background is that the stock management system then recognises you as part of the Naval Service and therefore able to remain in your Port Area. If you don’t inform the ‘system’ that you wish to remain it thinks that there is not a match between your assignment location and SFA location which prompts Amey to issue you with a Notice to Vacate. You need to be aware that if you occupy Substitute SFA (SSFA) in one of the Port Areas retention will be granted, but you will be expected to move to SFA if and when there is suitable availability within that Port Area.

 

If you are serving away from a Base Port area and you are then assigned away from the area then you should apply for SFA at your next place of duty. There are exceptions to this regulation, however, you must apply for a retention.

 

There has to be explicit reasons to retain that are recognised under the regulations and you will need to provide appropriate supporting documentation at the time of the application. A number of retention criteria require Chain of Command support particularly for welfare or medical reasons when, in the first instance, the Local Service Commander will consider the case in consultation with appropriate medical, welfare (NS FPS and Divisional system), educational agencies and Amey Occupancy Service. If agreed, retentions will be granted for a period of up to 12 months (you can re-request prior to expiry if the circumstances continue to persist) and confirms continued entitled occupation for allowance and disturbance purposes.

 

If a retention request is unsuccessful it does not form any kind of bar to future use of SFA, but it may be that if you wish to stay in a particular location (other than Port Area) for a period of time beyond assignment dates, then housing options outside the SFA estate will need to be considered such as rental or purchase. There are schemes for Tenancy Deposit Loans (DIB201516) which enables personnel to receive an advance of pay for rental properties or the Forces Help to Buy Scheme for assistance to buy into the property market. More information can be found here.

 

Tri-Service SFA and SSFA accommodation regulations are contained in JSP464 Volume 1 parts 1 and 2 here or via DII. Retention is fully covered in Chapter 7, Paragraph 0725 and includes guidance for all retention criteria.

 

Updated on: 2nd December, 2019

Visit the Amey Defence Services website for details on moving out of UK SFA, arranging a pre move out appointment and find out details about the Walk Away Cleaning Scheme.

 

Move out

Your move out will be attended by an Amey Defence Services Accommodation Officer who will inspect your SFA to determine if it meets the agreed move out standard.

If the standard is not satisfactory and there are deficiencies or damages that are not considered to be fair wear and tear, or you have failed to clean the property properly, a charge will be raised by the Accommodation Officer and you will be invoiced accordingly.

In this instance an appropriate Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) action will be taken by the Amey Defence Services Occupancy Services team to cease accommodation charges on that property from the date of your move out.

For more information, please click here.

 

Removal services

Agility Logistics Limited (Agility) is the MOD approved service provider for removals and is part of the Global Removal Management Services (GRMS).

 

Charges for damage and deficiencies for SFA and Substitute SFA recovery from pay

When you move out of UK Service Family Accommodation (SFA) or Substitute Service Family Accommodation (SSFA), you may be liable for charges for damages or deficiencies that are not classed as fair wear and tear or because you have failed to prepare the property to the correct standard, for example cleanliness.

Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) can take these directly from the pay of serving personnel. Any payments taken depend on the size of the charge and individual monthly income (using MOD guidelines to ensure that deductions do not exceed a set limit of pay).

If you consider that you are not responsible for the charges, or part of them, for example that the damage is the result of fair wear and tear, you are able to dispute the charge raised using the Disputed charges form’.

 

Full details on moving out of your SFA and recoveries from pay are available in:

JSP 464: Tri-Service accommodation regulations (TSARs)Part 1

JSP 754: Recoveries from pay (available on the Defence Intranet only)

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 30th August, 2018

The Combined Accommodation Assessment System (CAAS) is a charging system for Service Family Accommodation (SFA) and was announced by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) on 24th October, 2014.

 

What factors will be assessed?

CAAS considers the condition, scale and location of the property, using modern, objective assessments that aims to apply fairly and equally to all. The condition of the property is the most important factor – homes that have not been improved will be significantly cheaper – but other factors will also have a significant impact e.g. 10% discount may apply, in consideration with other weighting factors, if your broadband connection is slower than the national average.

 

More information

To find out more about CAAS and the methodology for determining the accommodation charges for SFA and SLA, please click here.

 

CAAS Challenges

If you receive a letter to say that your banding has changed and you disagree with this, you will have 28 days in which to challenge it.

You must base your challenge on factual errors and make it in writing via letter, email or using the template on DII.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018