So you decided you want to live in military base housing, huh?
Now that you’ve made the choice to live on base, you need to follow the procedures to make this rental home a reality. Use the information below to make this transition as smooth as possible.
The Smart Military Spouse’s Guide to Military Base Housing
You searched for “housing” and your new duty station and found some answers online. You realized that most locations have privatized housing. This translates into on-post neighborhoods with newer houses and this management company – not the military – is responsible for the daily upkeep of the homes. Some of the companies even have photos and walk-through tours on their websites.
Be ready to fill out a form (or two). This is something the service member will be able to do once you have PCS orders. Within 30 days of arrival, a DD Form 1746 should be completed. This is the application for an assignment for housing. On some privatized housing websites, you can complete this form online. Military spouses will need a power of attorney if the service member is deployed.
You need a copy of your orders to your new location that shows your detachment dates. Your service member’s LES (Leave and Earnings Statement) will tell the housing office what type of house you qualify for. You also need certification of your dependents (if you have them).
Each service has a different form to complete this requirement but a DEERS enrollment card or RED (Record of Emergency Data) will also suffice. The last official document needed is the form disclosing sexual offender status. Again, check with your service branch for specific forms.
Now you are put on a waitlist. This list is dependent on pay grade. The size and location of your house also depends on how many dependents you have. Unfortunately, this step can last a few days or a few years depending on your military installation. Don’t get discouraged. We all know that the military works in mysterious ways.
There are other aspects to the wait list that you must understand. Your eligibility date is based on your orders. A newly married service member’s date is determined by your legal wedding day.
New to the military and to married life? Your date is what you find on your Military Entrance Processing Date.
Again, you may not know many of these forms but that’s where your spouse or his chain of command can help.
Time has passed and you finally get the call that a house is available for you! You jump for joy and then set out to see the house. The representative from the housing office meets you there and they walk you around and answer any questions you have.
You step into the entrance and you see that there is no furniture. All of the houses are unfurnished. Then you walk into the kitchen and see a full array of appliances. These all stay. What a relief! Now you don’t have the added expense of that! Washers and dryers may or may not come with the house, as this is dependent on the management company. As you move to the back of the house, you notice that some of the surrounding homes have fences and some do not. This is not unusual either. Without a fence, the included lawn service takes care of your whole yard.
What other amenities are included? Utilities in unmetered houses. Otherwise, you will retain part of your BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) to pay that expense. This is true for the garbage collection as well. And, the housing representative tells you your rent is based on the rank of your service member. This is all so eye-opening. You complete your inspection and the person from the housing office asks if you’d like to take the house.
You have a choice in military base housing? Yes, you do.
If you pass on the first house, you still maintain your position on the wait list. You would then have to take the second house that they showed you or you would go to the bottom of the list.
But wait! Before you make that decision, you need to know about their pet policy. The representative tells you that you can have 2 or 3 pets depending on the management company overseeing your location. You look at your spouse with a twinkle in your eye; you can get another pet and still be in code! There are some breed restrictions as well as exotic pet bans but you can check with your representative at the housing office for that.
You decide to accept the house. Enjoy the community and the ease of living on base. It is an experience like no other and you will make memories that will last long after you leave the service. Maybe you’ll encourage others to do the same. After all, you have all of this information at your fingertips.