Applying for SFA/SSFA
24 Sept - Thinking
of making a change to your Service Family Accommodation?
24 Sept - DIO Customer Charter
Housing Allocations Service Centre
Applying for Service Family Accommodation (SFA)
Allocation of SSFA
Service Families Accommodation - Second Offers
DIO Guide to occupying SFA
Retaining a quarter or hiring
Surplus quarters – a place in history?
Most people want to make the best of their home but families living in a Service home should be aware that they must seek permission in advance if they want to make changes that add to their Service Family Accommodation or change its fabric.
What you can do - As long as permission is sought from DIO first, through your housing officer, customers will generally be permitted to carry out minor encroachments either on the outside or to the outside of their homes. This includes erecting a greenhouse, garden shed, TV aerial, satellite dish, house alarms and security lights.
At the Pre Move Out appointment these changes will be inspected where it is considered that the encroachment does not provide added value to the property, the Licensee will be required to remove and make good. All costs incurred in the removal will be the responsibility of the Licensee - this also applies if you redecorate your property.
What you can’t do - Major changes will not usually be permitted, such as replacing a kitchen. Even if you know you will be based in a property for some time, these changes would introduce non-standard fixtures and fittings that will not be covered by the maintenance contracts. In addition, customers should not interfere with fittings, such as gas ovens or gas fires, as this is potentially dangerous and illegal if you are not qualified.
Customers living in Substitute SFA (SSFA) are not permitted to alter the decoration of the interior or the exterior of the property without the written permission of either the MOD Contractor or the Letting Agent/Landlord.
If in doubt, please check with DIO first.Back to top
Following a review of the Military Chain of Command Charter for Service Family Accommodation (SFA) in 2012, DIO was asked by the Families Federations to provide a similar Customer Charter.
DIO is pleased to announce that following consultation with the single Services and Families Federations, the new charter has now been published on the SFA website.
Bedrooms – 2 double, 1 single
Overall size – 116.5 sq m
|Captain and below||Officers who are normally entitled to Type V SFA but have 4+ children of any age, or 3 children all aged 10 years or over will be entitled to elect to occupy Type IV SFA (above normal rank entitlement) but must pay Type IV charges.|
|Type V special
Bedrooms – 2 double, I single
Overall size – 137 sq m
|Major||Appropriate for applicants with one or no children if no Type IV OSFA is available. Type V charges to be levied.|
Bedrooms – 2 double, 2 single
Overall size – 137 sq m
|Major||Majors with one or no children may be offered a Type VS/V OSFA if no Type IV OSFA is available, under the ‘one down’ rule.|
Bedrooms – 2 double, 2 single
Overall size – 155.5 sq m
Lieutenant Colonels with one or no children may be offered a Type IV OSFA if no Type III OSFA is available, under the ‘one down’ rule.
Majors and Squadron Leaders in command of an Independent Unit are entitled to a Type III OSFA. Type IV charges to be levied.
|Brigadier Colonel||Officers of 1* and OF5 rank when not In Command.|
Bedrooms – 2 double, 2/3 single
Overall size – 210 sq m
|Brigadier Colonel||Certain officers of 1* and OF5 rank designated by the MOD as occupying command appointments are entitled to a Type II OSFA. Type III accommodation charges to be levied.|
|Major General||2* Officers when not In Command.|
Bedrooms – 2 double, 2/3 single
Overall size – 251 sq m
Certain 2* officers designated by the MOD as occupying command appointments are entitled to a Type I OSFA. Only those authorised by DCDS(Pers) D SP Pol are entitled to OSR status. Type II accommodation charges to be levied.
|All Officers of 3 and 4* rank are entitled to a Type I OSFA. However, only those authorised by DCDS(Pers) D SP Pol are entitled to OSR status.|
Bedrooms – 2 double
Overall size – 85.5 sq m
|Applicants with 1 or no child||Where Type C quarters are in short supply, it may be necessary for families with 2 children under 5 to occupy Type B quarters.|
Bedrooms – 2 double, 1 single
Overall size – 94.5 sq m
|WO1's||See comments for D type.|
|Applicants with 2 or 3 children||Applicants, including WOs, with 4 or more children of any age, or 3 children all aged 10yrs or over, are to be allocated a Type D|
Bedrooms – 3 double, I single
Overall size – 119.5 sq m
|Applicants with 4 or more children of any age, or 3 or more children age 10 or over||Army WO1s with smaller and / or younger families should be allocated a Type D, where available.|
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The Housing Allocations Service Centre (HASC) is the primary point of contact with the customer for housing and the allocation of SFA at your new duty station. If your enquiry is of a general nature it will be routed to the first available person at the HASC. This is because general enquiries - such as the implications of leaving the Service or learning about your entitlement to housing - can be answered by any of the staff. But if your call is specific to a particular location - such as the need to arrange a move in or out - you will need to select the relevant area from the options offered. A downloadable map shows the geographic area covered by each area team. When calling please listen carefully to the instructions you will hear.
Please try to limit your call to housing issues and don’t call the HASC to ask about the local area or schools (visit your local HIVE) or to discuss maintenance or repairs (contact your housing maintenance contractor).
The HASC can be contacted in the UK through the free-phone telephone number: 0800 169 6322
From Overseas or mobiles phone 01904 418000 or Mil (9) 4510 8000
They are currently open from 0830 to 1300 hrs and are manned by experienced DIO staff.
Some of the HASC’s main responsibilities are to manage the application process in accordance with the rules and regulations laid down in Tri Service Accommodation Regulations (JSP 464) Chapter 5 and in particular to:-
- Acknowledge receipt of the application form (e1132 self-preference form) and allocate SFA in accordance with the applicant’s entitlement and availability within 15 working days
- Identify any additional needs or disability requirements and liaise with appropriate welfare authorities
- Manage the provision of Non-Availability Certificates (NAC) in cases where SSFA needs to be utilised
- Maintain JPA records for incoming and outgoing occupants
- Consider and action requests for retention of SFA
- Deal with enquiries from prospective occupants on any aspect of the allocation process
In order to better distribute their workload, the Housing
Allocations Service Centre (HASC) is changing the geographical areas that teams
are responsible for. To help customers reach the right team, a new HASC map has been created, and customer information on our websites has been
However, the new teams are:
|HASC Team and region covered||Email address|
|Team 1: All London locations, Kent and the Brize Norton email@example.com or telephone the HASC and choose Option 1|
|Team 2: Hampshire and Surrey areas including Portsmouth and Aldershotfirstname.lastname@example.org or choose Option 2|
|Team 3: Salisbury Plain Training Area, including Andover, Bulford and Larkhillemail@example.com or choose Option 3|
|Team 4: South West including Devon, Cornwall and the Bristol firstname.lastname@example.org or choose Option 4|
|Team 5: Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North of Englandemail@example.com or choose Option 5|
|Team 6: Western England, North Wales, Midlands and Norfolk and Lincolnshire
||firstname.lastname@example.org or choose Option 6|
|Team 7: South Wales, Gloucestershire, High Wycombe area and South Angliaemail@example.com or choose Option 7|
|Team 8: SFA customers who have enquires about loss of entitlement to SFA resulting from retirement, discharge or estrangement
||dioopsaccn-HASCTeam8@mod.uk or choose Option 8|
All applications for housing within the UK are made using the e1132 Self Preference form via DII or intranet enabled terminals. The e-1132 self-preference form is hosted on the Defence Intranet, rather than the Internet, to ensure security of data and can be found on the Admin tab of the Defence Intranet.
The online form offers applicants advantages over the paper version including:
- provides information throughout the form to help you complete it.
- validates the information to ensure you can’t submit an incomplete form.
- allows you to save your form so you can complete it later.
- allows you to track the progress of your application.
- means your information can be directly transferred to systems, which could speed up the process.
- allows you to see which properties are available within your entitlement and can register three properties in priority order of preference (NB: There is no guarantee that you will be allocated one of your preferred properties as allocation will depend on availability, timings and other factors).
However, the not so good news is that availability of SFA has not increased, so the e1132 cannot guarantee that all families will get their choice of housing. Families should not regard the introduction of the e1132 Self Preference form as a guarantee that they will get their preferred housing option - the same supply/demand problems still exist. The application procedure must be made on a DII terminal (available to Defence personnel only). There is a 'Print Details' tab for all properties that produces a PDF with all the property details. The serving person can either email this home or print it and take it home.
The HASC will review each application and will then make a formal offer. If you are unhappy with the property which you have been allocated/offered you should consider carefully whether rejecting it is the right choice. This is because DIO does not have to make you another offer within a set timeframe. See section below Service Families Accommodation - Second Offers.
What the e1132 can and can't do
The good news is the launch of the Self Preference system is an integral part of the transformation of allocation services. It will allow DIO and the HASC to dramatically improve the level of support it provides to Service personnel and their families. In particular, it will offer families more information (and transparency) of the allocation of their next home. Families will be able to view the properties which are available (some applications for additional needs, tied quarters etc will not see any preferences and will be routed straight to the HASC). The majority will have a photograph and some will have floor plans and internal images. There is an on- going programme to capture the information until all SFA are covered.
The new process means that ALL correspondence will be done electronically - the serving person will be able to track the progress online. The hope is that the increase in electronic communication will decrease calls to the HASC and this will give them more time to focus on allocations. The Service person will be able to sign the Licence to Occupy and book their 'Pre move -out', 'Move-out' and 'Move-In' appointment online.
What happens if my soldier is away?
Unit Welfare Offices have access to DII and families will be able to complete the e1132 and view properties there. If your soldier has access to DII or the defence intranet where they are, then they can still apply and in some circumstances paper applications are still allowed. If you have trouble filling in the e-1132 self-preference form yourself, contact your UWO as they can help you complete it.
e1132 Application common mistakes
- Ensure that all your details are those on JPA, i.e use your full name and check that your service number and date of birth are correct
- Incorrect duty station – many people put their unit or trade here instead of duty station
- Incorrect Pstat – this must be what it will be on occupation, for example, if you are getting married put down Pstat 1
- Not entitled – families submit an application as for an entitled applicant but it should be an eligible application for surplus or for a non-entitled transfer
- Incorrect family information – for example, dates of birth with transposed figures, information not matching with previous applications, baby due date of more than nine months
Paper version of the 1132 - The paper version is only to be used in the following situations;
- Personnel deployed on Ops
- Defence Attaches and Exchange Officers
- Personnel overseas, where Defence Intranet is not available
- Special Forces personnel, where Defence Intranet is not available
- Non admin/management personnel, where Defence Intranet is not readily available
- Recruiting Officers, where Defence Intranet is not available.
- AFF note - Illegible or incomplete paper forms will be returned which will result in a delay to allocation of a quarter
To download a paper version of the 1132 please click here.Back to top
If, when you put in your e1132 self-preference form, there are no quarters available you will be given the option to accept a Non Availability Certificate (NAC) which means that a hiring will be sourced for you. You may be asked whether you want to stay on the list for a quarter – THINK VERY CAREFULLY – refusing an NAC will be seen as a refusal of an offer and you will go on to the waiting list which means you may to wait some time for another offer (remember, you have to move within three months of your assignment date in order to be eligible for removals and disturbance allowance).
The Housing Allocations Service Centre (HASC) is to issue a NAC a minimum of 51 days for moves within UK and 65 days for moves in to UK from overseas. The HASC can withdraw the NAC and offer an appropriate SFA if one becomes available any time up to the 51/65 days mentioned above.
The earliest you can apply to get your SSFA is two days prior to your assignment date unless you are returning from overseas or vacating a tied SFA.
You are NOT able to source your own SSFA – you will be given two properties to view (preferably in a 24 hour period) and are to choose one of these. You will then be given notice of address 14 days prior to your required date if in the UK and 28 days prior to your required date if returning from overseas. As with SFA you will be required to sign a License to Occupy and your SSFA will be charged at grade 1 for Rent and CILOCT but you are entitled to challenge the grading on move in.Back to top
In the past you have always been allowed to turn down your first offer of housing however, if it was for personal reasons, there was no time line and AFF has had several cases of families waiting for over a year for a 2nd offer. There has recently been a change to the rules and, as of the 1st May 2013, there is now a fixed time for the HASC to make you a 2nd offer.
AFF would encourage families to ensure that ALL relevant information is included in the comments box on the e1132 so that the HASC can take everything into consideration in the first place – they aren’t mind readers so you have to tell them what your personal circumstances are if you want them to be taken into consideration.
If you DO want to turn down the first offer what happens now?
You must reply to the HASC within 14 working days to say whether you are going to accept or refuse your first offer. If you refuse, the HASC have 15 working days to make you another offer – they will try to offer you a different property however if the original one offered to you is the only one available and to entitlement that will also be your 2nd offer – the HASC will also talk to you to see how flexible you are on dates as this may allow more time to source a suitable SFA. If there are no SFA to entitlement for a 2nd offer you will now be offered an NAC for a hiring (SSFA).
Hopefully this 2nd offer will be acceptable and you will accept it but if you feel that it is still not suitable and that you have EXCEPTIONAL personal reasons for turning it down you must complete the 2nd Offer Review Form which will come with your 2nd offer; outline the reasons for rejection, include ALL supporting documentation and return it to the Initial Reviewing Officer (which in the case of the Army is your Commanding Officer) within the following time lines;
The form must be submitted, reviewed and concluded within 14 working days (WDs) of the 2nd offer being made and during this time the HASC will hold your 2nd offer until a final decision is made. The 14WDs are broken down as follows;
- 4WDs for your Serving Person (SP) to make an application for a review, with all supporting documentation;
- 3WDs for the Initial Reviewing Officer to make an initial review of the application and to determine whether it should be supported or rejected. If the application is rejected by the Initial Reviewing Officer, they will recommend that you accept the offer; the HASC will be notified and no further action taken. If you fail to accept the offer, you must understand that the implication is that you are turning down your entitlement to SFA and signalling your intent to make your own accommodation arrangements. You have 7 WDs, from the decision date of the Initial Reviewing Officer, to notify the HASC of your intention to accept or refuse the 2nd offer;
- If the CO supports your application they will then pass it on to the Single Service (sS) Housing Colonel for approval
- 5 WDs for sS Housing Colonels to review applications supported by the Initial Reviewing Officer to determine if they agree with the initial review assessment, and to make a final decision. If the application is supported by the sS Housing Colonels, a new offer should be made by the HASC (within 15 WDs of the decision), including issuing a NAC where SFA to entitlement is not available.
- Where the sS Housing Colonels reject the application, you have 2 WDs from the decision date to notify the HASC of your intention. i.e either you accept the 2nd offer or you find your own accommodation.
AFF welcomes the change to the JSP to include a time frame for 2nd offers however we would stress that the HASC can only allocate the stock that they have available and expectations should be managed by families when considering whether to reject an offer or not; for example, if there are only flats available and they are to your entitlement the HASC will not be able to offer you a house or SSFA however much you would like one!
AFF has been assured that all applicants with an existing 2nd offer will be contacted by the HASC during May to discuss personal requirements to ensure their application is taken forward in the best interests of the applicant and the MOD.Back to top
A guide for Service families about applying for, maintaining, moving in and out of Service Family Accommodation (SFA) on the GOV.UK website.
Retention for children's educational reasons
Families who have children reaching critical examination periods may apply for retention for up to four months (one academic term) leading to the final public examination. Also, where it is not possible for the child to transfer schools whilst within two years of public examinations (because of school availability, regional syllabus differences or Continuous Assessment Work), then retention is possible up to the public examination. The term public examination only includes GCSE, A / S Level, A Level and/or other nationally recognised, full-time, higher and further education courses up to and including Degree Level. It may be important to know that the child must live permanently in Service Families’ Accommodation (SFA) and be under 25, unmarried and in full time education. Families need to speak to CEAS regarding the “educational impact statement” required by DIO as supporting evidence for retention. CEAS can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the helpline on 01980 618244. The Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) is an integral part of The Directorate Children and Young People (DCYP), which is the focal point within the Ministry of Defence for all matters relating to Service children and young people.
If you have a child undergoing statementing for Additional Needs, then a quarter may be retained for two academic terms or until the end of the academic year. If you have a child not statemented but with special educational needs, then you can still be considered for retention on welfare/medical grounds, providing that consultation between the Local Service Commander and the relevant welfare, medical and educational agencies is undertaken. Retention will be for a specific period, after which a further application may be made if required.
Retention of SFA for spouses
A change in policy for retaining SFA has now been announced, thanks to the campaigning work of AFF, alongside the Naval and RAF families’ federations; you are now able to apply to retain your SFA if your soldier is short-toured and you are doing a course which you can’t transfer to another area of the country OR if you have to give a specified time scale of notice to your employer. This change aligns policy with the existing provision which supports retention of SFA when you have children in public exam years.
JSP details below:
Retention of SFA for Spouses on Adult Educational Courses
Where a spouse is undertaking adult educational or training courses aimed specifically at improving their skills for work and/or opening up new employment opportunities which was started in the realistic expectation that it would have been completed in the period of the Service person’s current assignment (i.e. prior to a declared Future Availability Date on the SP’s Assignment Order) but the Service person is instead assigned elsewhere before the end of the course. A case may be made through Unit HR office to the HASC for the retention of SFA/SSFA. This must be demonstrated with conclusive evidence, including addressing course transferability, supported by Unit HR staff and presented to the HASC. Such cases are to be considered with the Local Service Commander and the relevant single Service Housing Colonel, as required, and include permitting retention on a temporary surplus basis, offering alternative accommodation in the same area (if available) or in areas where surplus SFA exists. It must not lead to entitled personnel being accommodated in SSFA.
Notice Period for Spouses’ Employers
In situations where a short notice posting of the Service personnel does not allow for sufficient notice to be given to spouses’ employers. A case may be made through Unit HR Office to the HASC for the retention of SFA/SSFA. Such cases are to be considered by the HASC in consultation with the Local Service Commander and the relevant single Service Housing Colonel, as required. Retention is only to be granted for the minimum period necessary to give and complete the contracted notice period. It must not lead to entitled personnel being accommodated in SSFA.
Other reasons for retention are detailed in JSP 464 but the main reasons include;
- Moves of short duration – retention is admissible if you know that the move will be followed by another within 11 months.
- Unaccompanied tours
- Short notice postings
- For less than 6 week notice, retention is admissible for up to 3 months
- For less than 3 month notice, retention is admissible for up to 1 month
Non-availability of SFA at the new posting – retention is admissible for 28 days
Those on the VCDS 45 minute list are entitled to retain their SFA
Those posted to MOD Main Building may apply to retain their SFA
For the full list please consult JSP 464
AFF note – retention may impact on allowances such as removals and disturbance allowance or CEA and families are advised to consult with their unit before they decide to apply for retention.
The number of surplus quarters is decreasing and their availability is slipping into history. I have received numerous calls from eligible personnel who have been told that there are no surplus quarters available in many areas. Service personnel divorced with access to children and welfare cases requiring moves nearer to family are just some of the examples of affected families. As they are only eligible for, rather than entitled to, surplus quarters, if there are no available empty properties, then there is little that can be done, despite DIO Service Delivery Accommodation treating each case individually.
When applications are specific to certain areas then the chances of a surplus property are limited. Some less popular areas do have surplus quarters, which DIO Service Delivery Accommodation is eager to fill with occupants, but these are often not in the right location. Just having the property available does not automatically mean that eligible personnel can occupy it. Because of the possible welfare and support structure that may be required, local command approval must also be sought.
It is now common that if an application is declined it will no longer be placed on a waiting list, as many areas do not foresee surplus properties becoming available. I always advise callers who find themselves in this situation to maintain communication with DIO Service Delivery Accommodation/ the HASC and if necessary re-submit their application periodically, especially if no waiting list is held. You never know, one day a suitable surplus property might become available.
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