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You are Deployed – So Can You Hang on to the House or Not?


eing deployed for more than four months can sometimes lead to your family being required to move house twice in a short space of

time. Te situation is confusing and disruptive, so what are the rules? Dawn McCafferty, Chairman of the RAF FF ventures to explain.

The Federation has been involved with two families who were required to relocate from Service Families Accommodation (SFA) as the serving person was deployed out of area (OOA) for more than 4 months and the SFA was required for the next incumbent. In both cases the quarters were ‘tied’ or ‘ex officio’. This effectively meant the family of the Serviceperson being deployed had to move house twice in a short space of time – first to make room at the local unit for the incoming executive and his/her family and then to relocate to the next duty unit.

This can cause stress during the build-up to the OOA deployment and if this move is unexpected, this can create additional tension. However, Units will always try to avoid a double-move, where possible. From the other family’s perspective, you would not wish to have your entitlement effectively blocked for up to nine months because the last incumbent has retained the tied or ex officio house. So what are the rules?

If you Occupy Standard SFA First of all, for anyone in SFA which is not tied or ex officio (usually reserved for officers employed at executive level on a unit) the fact that you are deployed will not impact on your entitlement to retain your SFA.

If you are deploying for up to 9 months you are entitled to retain your current SFA (TSARs Chapter 8 para 0822(e)). If you are deploying for more than 9 months and you are not aware of your next assignment then you are entitled to retain your SFA at your previous parent unit since para 0822g of TSARS protects occupants of SFA from enduring two moves in a period of less than 11 months.

If you Occupy Tied and Ex-Officio SFA Certain designated individuals/groups of personnel are entitled to tied/ex-officio SFA by virtue of their appointments.

Arrangements as to who occupies these properties are laid down in a mutually agreed unit Area Housing Plan between the Local Service Commander and Defence Estates-Housing. Copies of the plan will be held by the Unit and the HICs for referral when allocating SFA.

The HIC should inform prospective occupants of the risks attached to occupying a tied or ex-officio property to determine whether they wish to accept the property. As there are usually only just the right number of executive-type houses available at each unit (and many don’t even have enough to meet ‘steady state’ demand), a deployment OOA of a key executive can create problems since the incoming executive has an entitlement to the ‘tied’ or ‘ex officio’ house which the current incumbent is still occupying. The key thing is for the executive family to understand, in advance, is that the property is tied to the appointment and that, should he/she be deployed at the end of the tour for more than four months without returning to the same Unit, local housing policy may require the family to relocate.

The relevant paragraph in TSARs is 0821(i), which states: ‘In cases where it is admissible for personnel occupying either tied or ex-officio SFA to retain, it will be necessary, unless exceptionally agreed by the Local Service Commander and Defence Estates, for the family to move out of the tied/ex officio SFA (thereby freeing it up for the incoming occupant) and move (at public expense) to other SFA to their entitlement at that location for the period of retention’.

Such relocation would be to an SFA of the appropriate entitlement and the costs would be covered by the Service. If the next assignment is not yet confirmed, the family may be required to move twice in quick succession but if the next assignment is known, the move can take place direct to the next parent unit, removing the need for a double move.

Similarly, where you are deployed on a Campaign Continuity Tour of more than nine months, retention of tied/ex-officio property will not normally be permitted.

If the Service Commander and Defence Estates Housing consider that it is appropriate to leave the unaccompanied family in the tied property to cover the period of deployment, the prospective occupant of the tied property may have to be allocated temporary accommodation for a short interval.

The key lesson learned from our perspective is that whilst TSARS lay down the overarching regulations relating to entitlement to SFA, in cases such as those involving executive properties, local commanders and DE Ops Housing have to mutually agree the management responsibilities for tied properties within the constraints of available resources. Early engagement by prospective executives with the local chain of command and DE Ops Housing is strongly encouraged so that any potential problems can be identified, particularly if the Serviceperson has strong grounds to believe he/she will be deployed OOA at the end of the tour.

Communication is key to reducing the potential for unexpected moves or additional stress at a time when families should be focusing on the forthcoming deployment rather than packing and potentially repacking boxes.

Further information: Details of the regulations covering retention of SFA/ SSFA are within JSP 464 Tri-Service Accommodation Regulations (TSARs) Part 1 Chapter 8.

Spring 2010 27

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