When leaving the military one of the most important things to organise is where to live. Whether you have lived in service accommodation and are now looking to rent or buy your own property, or whether you already own your own property, but may be considering relocating to a new area, this guide will provide an overview of useful information, articles and links.
The CTP hosts a number of housing briefing events at all CTP RRC locations on a regular basis. Additional briefings are also hosted at both Kinloss Barracks & RAF Lossiemouth and a range of venues in Germany. These are run by the Joint Services Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) and will provide advice and guidance for those leaving the military and are currently resident in service accommodation, or seeking to relocate to another area when they leave service. Attendance at these events is treated as duty if you are registered for Resettlement (so Allowances may apply). They are usually held at Regional Resettlement Centres and may be attended at any point in a Service person's career, although priority is given to Service leavers with 9 months or less to discharge. Housing briefings are "All Ranks" and spouses are welcome to attend. In Germany these briefings are held three times a year in various locations - call Herford RRC or your local AEC for dates and venues. These briefings focus on the various accommodation options available post-discharge including the help offered by the Single Persons Accommodation Centre for Ex-Services (SPACES).
Council tax is a system of local taxation collected by local authorities. It replaced the community charge (poll tax) on 1 April 1993. It is a tax on domestic property. Guidelines and formal processes exist providing an explanation on valuation bands, exemptions, discounts and how to pay council tax.
Buying a property
In order to purchase a property, unless you are a cash buyer, you will need to have secured an offer of mortgage and have a deposit available. Mortgages vary in design, format and repayment options and you are advised to seek guidance from an IFA or Mortgage Broker in the first instance. The web is a useful research tool, but you are then advised to speak directly with an IFA for professional, for personal advice to suit your own individual circumstances.
It should be noted that the legal process for buying property in Scotland differs from the rest of the UK, but your own Scottish based Solicitor or Estate Agent will be able to provide accurate advice and guidance as to how to proceed.
Forces Help to Buy Scheme
From 1st April 2014, the MOD is launching a new Forces Help to Buy scheme. The amount available and how it can be used will depend on your personal circumstances; eligibility criteria and policy has been published in JSP 464 Ch12 and is summarised in the Army Briefing Note 23/14.
This new pilot scheme aims to help Regular Service personnel and their families with the cost of buying a home. The FHTB has funding of more than £200 million to be allocated over 3 years. The scheme allows an application to be made for an interest-free loan of up to 50% of salary(capped at a maximum of £25,000), repayable over 10 years.
Those leaving as a result of tranche 4 of the redundancy programme will qualify for a Forces Help to Buy Tranche 4 (FHTB-T4) which will be launched on 12th June 14 and is covered in JSP 464 Ch13. For the duration of the FHTB pilot, the existing Long Service Advance of Pay (LSAP) scheme will be frozen. Personnel with an existing LSAP arrangement can also apply for a FHTB loan, with the outstanding LSAP amount being consolidated into one arrangement under FHTB.
For further details and advice on options for home purchase, you can contact the Joint Service Housing Advice Office by email: AWS-JSHAO-MAILBOX@MOD.UK or by phone on 01980 618925
Renting a Property
A wide range of options exist via local councils, housing associations and private lettings. You are advised to research the local area fully, and contact local government housing offices and local housing associations in order to ascertain application and assessment processes for registering for accommodation in your chosen area.
Living & working abroad
Many people consider moving abroad to settle when they leave the military. Opportunities vary depending on location selected. Emigration Fairs are held on a regular basis at some CTP locations and there are a number of national exhibitions and information events relating to emigration.
Anyone thinking of relocating out with the UK is recommended to carry out extensive research into the range of employment, housing, education and leisure opportunities available in their preferred location. They are also advised to research options for visas via the relevant country embassy/consulate website and proceed accordingly. A number of relocation agents will provide assistance with the relocation process. See the article, "Moving Abroad, things to consider", for more useful information.