Modernised Accommodation Offer

Formerly known as the New Accommodation Offer

Update 27 February:

The Minister for Defence People and Families, Dr Andrew Murrison, has announced that the elements of the Modernised Accommodation Offer (MAO) relating to SFA are being paused while a review is carried out.

We recognise that there are a broad range of views on the new policy and while some will welcome the pause, others will be disappointed that this will mean a delay to much welcomed changes for some personnel and their families, particularly those in long-term relationships and parents whose children live elsewhere but visit for more than 80 nights a year.

AFF will be continuing to support the positive changes that formed part of the FAM pilots and NAO, while encouraging policymakers to develop a way forward that considers the needs of all Service families, and is supported by long-term funding.

We are pleased to see that some positive elements of MAO will roll out on 11 March, including SLA waivers being retained. Waivers will be extended to Service personnel who maintain a main home more than 50 miles from their assigned location, regardless of age, service or relationship status. The MAO will also help military personnel get on the housing ladder by refunding up to £1,500 of legal expenses for first-time buyers.

Any future rollout of a new service accommodation policy must be accompanied by significant, long-term investment in the SFA estate. Army personnel of all ranks, and their families, have repeatedly made clear how important it is to them to have guaranteed access to a safe and comfortable home close to their duty station.

Ensuring that there are homes, of the right size and condition, in the right locations, to meet the aspirations of all Army families, should be the focus of any review.

If you would like to air your concerns directly to the AFF housing team, please email housingsupport@aff.org.uk so that they can be recorded.

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On 19 September 2023, the Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families, Dr Andrew Murrison, announced the introduction of the New Accommodation Offer (now  known as the Modernised Accommodation Offer (MAO))

The Future Accommodation Model (FAM) pilot and AFF surveys showed that families value SFA and as a result SFA will remain as the main Service accommodation option for families and will always be allocated when available.

Where no SFA at entitlement is available, families will be expected to source their own private rental.

See below for more detail on the currently proposed changes – these may change during the review period and we will update this page as soon as we have more information.

Download: Message to military personnel on MAO from Service Chiefs

Contents

01   What is the new accommodation policy?

The policy is still being finalised and we are awaiting the final details of how the policy will work. However, the main changes to the current accommodation policy are as follows:

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The entitlement to family accommodation will be based on the size of the family, not rank (for both Other Ranks and Officers). This is likely to be based on the number of dependent children.

There will be a three-year transition period where Service personnel who previously had a rank-based entitlement will be offered ‘transitional protection’ to a similar-sized property. However, this will be the same size of house and not necessarily an old-type Officer’s SFA,  e.g. if you are a Major and were previously entitled to a four-bed Type IV, you could be offered any four-bed SFA available (including from a D type upwards).

Service personnel who have registered their relationship as an Established Long-Term Relationship (LTR(E)) will now be entitled to accommodation on the same basis as those who are married or in a civil partnership.

If you have children whose main home is elsewhere but they visit you for more than 80 nights a year, they will now be included in your accommodation entitlement so that you have room for them to stay.

Under the Modernised Accommodation Offer, all serving personnel will now be able to access a waiver of SLA charges if you live in your own home (not your Residence at Work Address) but need SLA during the week because it’s too far to commute.    

How do I get a waiver?

You will need to speak with your unit admin team and show them evidence like a council tax bill, tenancy agreement or mortgage statement. The unit admin team can then apply the waiver to JPA.

If you currently claim the Army Over-37 Provision your charges will continue to be waived until your next assignment when you will move to new SLA waiver.

The MOD has produced more information here: sway.cloud.microsoft/QUe1vSDsI8MQsoyc

Forces Help to Buy is already a permanent part of the accommodation policy and, under the new accommodation offer, you will be offered extra support for becoming first-time buyers through a refund up to £1,500 of your legal expenses.

If no SFA are available and you are placed into this route, you will be given guidance and various payments to cover the costs associated with renting and a contribution towards your monthly rent, adjusted for local housing costs.

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02   MOD updates and events

The New Accommodation Offer – booklet 2 February 2024
New Accommodation Offer Update release 12 Dec 2023

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03   Will the new accommodation policy improve SLA housing standards?

A minimum standard for SLA has been agreed and the MOD is already assessing the entire SLA estate to understand where rooms are currently failing to meet this. This will inform where investment is needed and, from 1 April 2024, any rooms falling below that standard will not be used unless the issue can be rectified within 48 hours.

See Defence Minimum Standard Update – Microsoft Sway

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04   Will this apply to assignments overseas?

The New Accommodation Offer will only roll out in the UK. However, the MOD is reviewing the overseas accommodation offer and policies.

From 22 January 2024 to 31 March 2025, there will be an accompanied established long-term relationship overseas pilot on two selected sites – the Falkland Islands and Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) Cyprus.

For general information on allowances overseas, see AFF: Military allowances

For further information your soldier will be able to access the new DIN on Modnet using the following link: Accompanied Established Long Term Relationship Overseas pilot DIN.

The MOD has produced a list of FAQs and a Sway with more information.

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  • You must have a registered LTR(E) and have more than six months left on your assignment order.
  • All partners and accompanying children must meet the relevant supportability requirements for the specific site before permission will be given.
    • Service personnel already on assignment at one of the overseas locations and living accompanied in a private dwelling will have two months from the go-live date (22 January 2024) to apply for SFA and you must have moved into SFA within six months of the go-live date.
    • If you are newly assigned to the selected sites with an accommodation required-by date between 22 January 2024 and 31 March 2025 you can apply on assignment.
    • Service personnel already on assignment living unaccompanied with an established LTR(E) predating 2 January 2024 will have two months to apply for SFA from the go-live date and must have moved into SFA within six months of the go-live date.
    • Dual serving service personnel in long-term relationships both assigned to the same location can also apply.

  • Entitlement will be under rank-based allocation (this will not give an entitlement to transitional protection on return to the UK under the New Accommodation Offer or at any other overseas posting).
  • Entitlement will continue until the end of the pilot period or the qualifying assignment end date, whichever is later.
  • The pilot only gives access to SFA – there’s no entitlement to SSFA. If SFA at entitlement is not available, one up or down will be considered.

Overseas status will be managed by British Forces Cyprus (BFC) and the Falkland Islands.

The following will be conducted in each location.

  1. SBA Cyprus – ‘on island’ status will be provided by a Sovereign Base Area Administration (SBAA) status card for Service personnel, their long-term partner and any Service recognised children. This will negate local visa requirements* and will grant status and access to SBA-delivered medical and health provisions.
  2. The Falkland Islands – there are no visa requirements for Service personnel or their family to reside on the island. Entitled residency will grant status and access to defence-provided medical and health provisions. For a working visas, the local process should be followed once on the island.

* All non-UK passport holders are required to have either valid Indefinite Leave to Enter or Remain in the UK to be issued with a SBAA status card. If you have any visa enquiries, please see AFF: Visas and BRPs page for more information.

A specific package of allowances has been created for the pilot locations; this will mean that you will be able to claim certain allowances during the pilot only.

  • The serving person will need to identify themselves to the J1 branch, who will mark them as Personal Category Status 1 (known as PStat Cat1) on the MOD system (JPA).
  • This will not formally make you PStat Cat 1 (which is normally reserved for those who are married or in a civil partnership) but will be allocated to you during the pilot. This will enable you to claim certain allowances and for the payment of Local Overseas Allowance (LOA).

See Annex D for information from the MOD of the allowances that may be claimed.

  • Whilst it gives you a general overview of what may be claimed, it’s important to check your own circumstances and confirm eligibility with the unit admin team.
  • For any allowance not listed, the serving person will be classified as single

  • If you are already assigned to Cyprus or the Falklands and are in a registered long-term relationship which was established before 2 January 2024, then from 22 January 2024 you will have a two-month window where you can elect to be accompanied.
  • This will allow you to be entitled to the relocation allowances in the table above. The serving person and their family must have moved and be living in the pilot location within six months of 22 January 2024 and be expected to live there for a minimum of six months.
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05   Who will support us with the new policy?

The Accommodation Support Cell is a dedicated team of civil servants specialising in answering all your questions on how the Modernised Accommodation Offer will apply to you, including guidance on how to source private rentals.

For more information contact: People-Accom-ASC@mod.gov.uk

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06   Where can I find more information?

AFF will continue to update our website as soon as we have more information, you can contact the Accommodation Support Cell or you can visit the following:

For a full list of the MOD FAQs please see New Accommodation Offer MOD FAQs

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07   I have heard the new accommodation policy is being implemented in some locations before March 2024, is this correct?

Dr Murrison has also announced that, as the first step in delivering the commitment made in the Defence Accommodation Strategy, the MOD is widening the accommodation entitlement beyond those who are married or in civil partnerships, allowing Service personnel in LTR(E) to apply for SFA at entitlement rather than as surplus. This is known as Widening of Accommodation Entitlement (at Limited Locations) WAE(LL)

The MOD has published a Directed Letter and full details of the allowances available.

If you are unsure about your entitlement to any allowances at a WAE(LL) site, the serving person can check with their unit admin team.

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WAE(LL) will only be at limited locations for those who receive an assignment order to the following duty stations with a start date between 31 October 2023 and 11 March 2024:

  • HMNB Yeovilton
  • HMNB Taunton
  • Leuchars Garrison
  • JHC FS Aldergrove
  • Palace Barracks Holywood
  • Thiepval Barracks Lisburn
  • RAF Cosford
  • RAF Shawbury

To be eligible for WAE(LL) you must:

  • Receive an assignment order to one of the eight sites with a report for duty date (RFDD) on or after 31 October 2023, and before 11 March 2024; and
  • Be in a relationship defined as an LTR(E). In line with current policy, the Service person will need to register their relationship status on JPA and have it verified by the unit admin team. The process to register an LTR(E) can be found in JSP 464 Volume 1 Part 1

For more information please see GOV.UK: Widening accommodation entitlement.

If you are in a registered LTR(E) and entitled to SFA at a WAE(LL) site, the serving person will be classed as accompanied and the partner and children will now be classed as immediate family, if they are registered.

This means they will now be eligible for some additional allowances, that can support you when moving home or during deployment.

Moving home

  • Removals – You will now be able to get removals the same as a married couple if you are in a registered LTR(E) at a WAE(LL) site.
  • Disturbance Expense (DE) – DE is based on the type of accommodation you are moving into, so if you are moving into SFA then a serving person can claim the SFA rate.
  • Travel & Subsistence – If you are moving home, you will also be able to claim for your partner and children for subsistence and travel costs. For example, this means you may be now able to claim up £25pp for food per day for your partner and your child on assignment, if eligible, up to a certain limit.
  • Substitute Service Family Accommodation – If there is no SFA available at a WAE (LL) site in the UK and you are offered SSFA, you may also be able to claim travel costs to view the SSFA. In the UK you can also claim accommodation for one nights and subsistence for yourself and your partner and children. However, if you need to return from overseas to view SSFA in the UK, only the serving person can claim for themselves, not the partner or children, up to a limit of four nights.

Deployment

  • Concessionary Travel for Families (CTF) is an allowance provided to enable the immediate family of Service personnel to visit family during extended periods of deployment. It means if the serving person is eligible, a long-term partner will now also be provided with travel tickets to see their family.

This does not apply to all allowances and only gives additional entitlements to certain allowances for WAE(LL) sites until 10 March 2024 or until the end date of the assignment order at a WAE(LL) site.

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08   Overseas accommodation pilot scheme

As part of the MOD’s review of the overseas accommodation offer and policies, a new pilot has launched which will give Service personnel in established long-term relationships (LTR(E)) access to Service Family Accommodation (SFA) in the Falkland Islands and Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) Cyprus.

The pilot initially runs from 22 January 2024 to 31 March 2025.

All Service personnel who are already on assignment or who receive an assignment to the Falkland Islands or SBA Cyprus who are in an LTR(E), and who meet the criteria, will be entitled to SFA.

For questions about individual circumstances, contact your base commander or the Overseas Bases team at UKStratCom-DirOB-HR@mod.gov.uk.

For policy related questions, contact the Accommodation Support Cell People-Accom-ASC@mod.gov.uk

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09   If I am in an LTR(E), will I be eligible for the same allowances under the new policy as those who are married or in civil partnership?

We know families are awaiting confirmation of the allowances for those in LTR(E) following the New Accommodation Offer announcement. The MOD has not yet confirmed what allowances will be available nor when they will be rolled out. We are pushing for this information and will share it as soon as it is available.

I feel more confident following the information you've given me

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