So, you’re leaving the Army and moving on to pastures new – exciting times, but what are you entitled to on departing Service Family Accommodation (SFA)? It’s important that you are prepared before you leave. Cat Calder has the answers to your questions…
How long can I stay in my SFA?
If you’re leaving at the end of your soldier’s service, their last day of service is your last day of entitlement; you will be issued with your Notice to Vacate (NTV) 93 days before your last day. Think of your SFA as another piece of Army kit that has to be handed back. If you’re leaving through medical discharge and fit the criteria, you can stay for another 93 days (at entitled rates) after your last day of service. For further information on medical discharge, see our Early exit feature on page 28.
Can I ask to extend my stay?
When you receive your NTV you will also get a proportionality exercise form; if you need to stay in the SFA longer you will need to complete this with the reasons why and any supporting evidence – such as public exams, due date of a new baby, medical reasons or house purchase – and send it back to the Loss of Entitlement Team (LOET). There’s no guarantee as it will depend on other criteria.
What happens if I don’t move out?
The LOET will start the legal process to obtain an Order for Possession from court. You will be responsible for the court fees so consider this extra cost before making the decision to become an over-stayer.
What will I pay if I stay on in my SFA?
You will be charged the market rate – and this may be considerably more than you are used to paying. As your soldier will no longer be serving, you will have to pay this directly to DIO. Be aware that any debt incurred at this point may impact on your ability to rent or buy in civvy street.
Will removals be paid for?
Generally first and last moves are not paid for. There are a few exceptions such as separation, some medical discharges or if you meet the Final Tour of Duty criteria, however, the majority of families should budget for removal costs. If you are leaving on medical discharge you may be entitled to removals, but be aware that this has to be used before your soldier’s last day of service.
If you’re staying on for the extra 93 days, you will need to put a case to the Pay and Allowances Complaints and Casework Cell and have the delay approved before the last day of service, or you will find yourself paying for removals.
Can I be charged for damages?
Yes. Your move-out will follow the same process as usual, you will be expected to leave the SFA at move-out standard and you will be charged for any damages in the usual way.
Unfortunately, AFF does see some families who have made no housing plans and, in the current climate, social housing is very hard to come by in many areas. Seek advice and plan early so that you don’t face any uncertainty with your future housing on top of the insecurity of leaving the Army.
If you would like any advice, contact Cat Calder (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the Joint Service Housing Advice Office on 01252 787574.