SFA is provided to Service personnel at a reduced rate so that they can live close to their work and be married accompanied. Army&You spoke to Cat Calder, AFF Housing Specialist, who told us how the system works…
YOUR soldier can lose their entitlement to SFA when they retire, take redundancy, are discharged or if there’s a marital breakdown.
If you stay on in SFA after your Notice to Vacate (NTV) has expired (see below for timings) you will be classed as irregular occupants (IOs) and will be charged a broadly comparable rate to social housing, which could be significantly more than you currently pay. You will also be responsible for council tax and water rates.
Who to contact
You will be managed by DIO not CarillionAmey so contact the Loss of Entitlement Team (LOET) as soon as you know you aren’t going to be able to leave your SFA on time.
What to do when you get your NTV?
Do not stick your head in the sand! If you do nothing the MOD will take you to court to evict you; this will be expensive and could affect your ability to get housing if you are in arrears with charges.
If you think there’s the slightest chance that you won’t leave your SFA on time, fill in the “proportionality form” which comes with your NTV, giving all the reasons why and include any evidence to show that you need extra time – eg you are in the process of completing on a house purchase or you have children in a critical exam period. The LOET will make the decision whether to extend your stay in the SFA based on this information, so tell them everything.
It’s important to plan for leaving the Army and SFA well in advance of your soldier’s last day both for your finances and housing.
Social housing is very hard to access due to the high demand so you may need to look at other alternatives.
JSHAO runs housing briefs which are open to both soldiers and their families and it is well worth going along to scope out your options. Call their advice line on 0800 3287641. There’s also help on the AFF website – aff.org.uk
The LOET is there to help as much as they can but they can’t do that unless you talk to them. Make sure that you keep up good communications with them whatever your circumstances. Call 01904 418000.
Retirement: 93 days to coincide with last day of service
Medical discharge or voluntary redundancy: an extra 93 days after last day of service at SFA rates
Marital breakdown: 93 days for the non-serving partner at SFA rates once soldier’s PStat Cat has changed
Discharge on disciplinarily grounds: 28 days
Bereavement: 2 years for the non-serving partner at SFA rates.
SSAFA Stepping Stones Homes, 0207 463 9354
Temporary accommodation for separated Service and ex-Service families, plus support and assistance in finding a permanent home;
Services Cotswold Centre, 01225 810358
Short-term self-catering accommodation between postings, on retirement or for welfare reasons;
Citizens Advice Bureau
Contact your local centre to ensure that you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to.