As many of you may be aware the next big shake up in housing is to the grading system. Many of you have already expressed your concerns on our Facebook page and are naturally worried about your family budgets. AFF Housing Specialist Cat Calder tells you what to expect…
AT THE moment, charges for many Service Families Accommodation (SFA) are known to be incorrect or inconsistent.
In the current system, 40 per cent of families are paying the correct amount, 55 per cent of you are being undercharged and five per cent are paying too much. The new Combined Accommodation Assessment System (CAAS) plans to iron out the inconsistencies.
The condition of the property will be most important in setting the charge, but it will also include more modern measures like good internet speed, location and energy efficiency. Any extra charges will be reinvested into SFA, raising building standards.
How will it work?
CAAS will have nine bands, with each band being a ten per cent difference from the next one.
If, in April 2016 when the new system is introduced, your SFA goes up more than one band, the rent will rise no more than one band per year – for a C type that would be about £30 a month.
Your SFA will continue to be subsidised and charges will not be linked to civilian rents.
The subsidy will be applied to all SFA and is set by an independent body.
What to expect
In effect, the top grade won’t change and the lowest grade will be even lower than it is now, but most families are likely to see their SFA grading somewhere in the middle. The plan is to introduce broadly the same system for SSFA (hirings) and for SFA overseas in April 2016. In the run up to April 2016, this is what you can expect:
Ongoing: You will receive notification if your property has been selected for a survey; this is being verified by an independent third party.
July 2015: A letter will inform you of your provisional Individual Property Plan, and the estimated charge for your quarter, which will enable you to start budgeting.
Sep/Oct 2015 to Feb 2016: You will get your final grading. At this point you will be able to challenge the decision.
1 April 2016: New charges come into effect.
Your views are important, so please continue to feedback to us – we will pass your comments, questions or concerns about the new system on to DIO. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org