If you are living in Service Families Accommodation (SFA) but leaving the Armed Forces you will be served with 93 days Notice to Vacate by the Defence Estates Officer. The Notice to Vacate expires on your discharge date, and this is when you legally lose the right to occupy your Service Accommodation (medically discharged personnel have an additional 93 days). Please note, it is your responsibility to make Defence Estates aware of your discharge date.
If you remain in your property after this time, you will become an Irregular Occupant and will be required to pay Damage for Trespass charges (called Violent Profits in Scotland). For assistance with these charges, (means tested) contact your Local Authority or the Department for Work and Pensions to discuss Housing Benefit. Website: www.dwp.gov.uk.
DE will begin proceedings for the repossession of the property, and while the process may take some time, the Court is most likely to order the property back to DE, and you will be liable for Court costs. Despite this, it is important to note that if you leave the property before you are ordered to do so, your local authority may argue that you have made yourself ‘intentionally homeless’, and therefore have no legal duty to house you.
If you are a Single Service Leaver occupying Single Living Accommodation, you are able to remain until your last day of military pay, but no longer. For further assistance on your housing options, we would also advise that you contact the Single Person’s Accommodation Centre for the Ex-Services (SPACES) up to 6 months before your discharge date.
Contact 01748 833797. www.spaces.org.uk
Useful Contacts Regarding Housing
Joint Service Housing Advice Office:
Telephone: 01252 787574 Mil: 94222 7574 Freephone 0800 3287641
Shelter: Helpline: 0808 800 4444 www.shelter.org.uk
Citizens Advice Bureau: Search for your local CAB online at www.citizensadvice.org.uk
The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association – Forces Help (SSAFA): Housing Advisory Service: 02074 639398 www.ssafa.org.uk