If you’ve sadly reached that stage in your relationship where your only option is to separate, you may be unsure of what to do next. Families often contact AFF to find out where they can receive support and what they may be eligible for. Our specialists have a wealth of knowledge to help you through…
A roof over your head
AFF receives a number of enquiries from army spouses worried about where they’ll live when they can no longer stay in a quarter. Our housing specialist, Cat Calder, looks into your options…
Your soldier’s local service commander may allow a ‘cooling off’ period of up to three months where your soldier can move into private or Single Living Accommodation (SLA), but continues to pay the Service Family Accommodation (SFA) charges.
After this, or as soon as it becomes apparent that there won’t be a reconciliation, your soldier needs to change their Personal Status Category (PStat Cat) and inform the unit and Amey. The DIO Loss of Entitlement Team (LOET) will then issue you and any other occupants over the age of 18 with a Notice to Vacate (NTV).
This gives you 93 days in which to leave the quarter – your soldier will continue to pay for it during this period.
Getting the right information
Each unit welfare office will be different, but all should provide support to families transitioning to civilian life, including information on vacating your quarter and removals.
The welfare team should speak to both halves in person to discuss ways forward – there’s a template interview for them to follow. If this isn’t offered and you feel it would help, do ask for it.
Once the NTV has been issued, the accommodation officer will carry out a condition assessment; any issues raised are the responsibility of your soldier, but anything then raised at move-out will be the responsibility of the person moving out. You’ll be expected to leave the SFA at move-out standard.
What if I’m overseas?
If you’re returning to the UK after separating in an overseas location and don’t yet have anywhere to stay, your soldier should apply for temporary SFA in the UK for you. Once you’ve moved in, the LOET will then issue an NTV to both parties for a 93-day period. This should at least give you a little more time to make arrangements.
Do speak to your welfare team, who should help you move back into a quarter in the UK before there’s a change in PStat Cat. Some local authorities may see an allocation of SFA after a change in PStat Cat as rehousing and will no longer consider you to be homeless, so it’s important to follow the process.
Nowhere to go
If, for any reason, you think you may not be in a position to leave the SFA at the end of the 93 days you’ll need to complete a ‘proportionality exercise form’ and return it to the LOET requesting extra time – this isn’t guaranteed and SFA charges will be at a rate broadly comparable to social housing. Remember, it’s imperative that you keep the LOET updated on your future housing plans along with any changes in circumstances, so these can be taken into account before legal action is considered.
Other housing options could include private rental, housing association and social housing, but do consider all possibilities and locations as social housing is limited in many areas. Local authorities have a duty to house homeless people, but it may be in a B&B or hostel rather than a permanent house.
- Talk to your local authority and register as homeless
- Your NTV should be taken as proof of impending homelessness
- Email the Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) who can offer information on your housing options and the MOD referral scheme – RC-PersJSHAO-0Mailbox@mod.gov.uk
- AFF’s website has lots of useful information, just search for ‘separation and divorce’ at aff.org.uk and, if you need to chat any of this through, call me on 07789 551158 or email email@example.com