Modernised Accommodation Offer put on hold

The Minister for Defence People and Families, Dr Andrew Murrison, has announced that the elements of the Modernised Accommodation Offer 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. 


POSTED ON 27 FEBRUARY 2024

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    Comments

    JSP 464 ,Part 1, Chapter 3.1.3 stated that if you live in privately rented accommodation before the 11th March, you will receive help with rent when the policy comes in to place. Me and my partner had been given notice on our previous rented two bed house, which sleeps up to seven of us in at times, so opted to move in to a bigger place to then get it subsidised when the new policy started. Without subsidisation, we cannot afford this property. We will spiral in to debt trying to keep up with payments. We have received little to no help at all. I’m sure they are busy but I have been ignored all week by the Accommodation Support Cell now. We have used our wedding fund money and had to borrow extra to front the deposit and first months rent which we would have replaced with the money we would have saved on rent! Does anyone know of anything we can do? My welfare suggested getting an advance in pay but this is just delaying the inevitable. Been royally stitched up due to a few selfish minority spitting their dummies out now me and my family are going to suffer. Absolute joke.

    Pulling the policy less that 3 weeks before it was implemented severely effected many families. Families planned based off of the information on the road shows, purchased houses or planned for SFA at new assignments. Pulling the MAO at such short notice has put these families in turmoil and increased uncertainty.

    Feedback should have been requested at a much earlier stage if changes were to be made. Accommodation in general should be to a much higher standard. I logged 14 complaints over 18 months at Blandford Camp with minimal response. Mold was present at march in and returned multiple times over my tenancy. Multiple families I know have been unable to use bedrooms due to the mold. Change of entitlement to size does not effect anything if half the bedrooms are mold ridden and uninhabitable for the majority of the stay.

    In addition, no change has been even mentioned to change of entitlemt to SFA on overseas postings. I am due to post to BATUK this coming year but my partner (LTR(E)) currently being medically discharged and requiring support through the transition, is not allowed to even consider accompanying me without us going to a court house and getting married. This would change nothing for us or the military apart from entitlement as we have been together for a significant amount of time. We do not wish to be married but the policy forces us to consider it, not because we want to, but because the military has injured my partner and he requires support after his contract is terminated.

    The policy needs to look further than SFA.

    The removal of the O37 package and charging SP SLA as they settle families and have to commute weekly will see mass exits as SP see this as a bonus for having to live away from family. Increased costs and another erosion of the offer!

    The Forces wanted everyone to buy their own house and those that have and were on this package will now be penalised.

    What the Army should be doing is matching the RAF and RN policy of not paying accommodation if you have a property (one you claim GYH to). It was unfair to only give to married SP, but to remove it will now see additional charges, even those in the worst grade 4 SLA will be worse off.

    After 27 years moving my family to 15 jobs this is no longer what it was and I will also soon be signing off. If I get sent 200 miles from home I wouldn’t accept having to pay accommodation charges so it would be departure.

    AFF has had the following confirmed from DIO – From 11 March, based on feedback received from Service personnel, the SLA waivers will be retained and extended to newly entitled Service personnel who maintain a main home 50 miles away from their assigned location no matter 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.

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