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Housing Guide and FAQs

The USA Support Group (Tidewater)

You can view the Tidewater Housing Guide by clicking the link below:

BDSUS ACCOMMODATION POLICY 2017-FINAL-O

 

Frequently Asked Questions – Housing

  1.  When allocating property what are your main considerations?

The priorities which you indicated on your Housing Information Proforma (e.g. schooling, commute, close to community) are fully considered, however, some requests may not be met depending on the availability of rental properties at the time. Schooling preferences are treated as top priority and please note there are no waiting lists to get into public (free) schools.

We must also allocate in accordance with British Defence Staff-US (BDS-US) accommodation policy criteria based on the square footage & rental ceiling for your rank and family size.

  1.  Why can’t I supplement the rental allowance get the property I want?

Whilst this was allowed in the past, after the significant cut in Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) in 2010, some personnel requested mid-assignment moves as they could no longer afford the supplement. Since the rental lease period is normally set for the length of the tour this was not an option, so the rental ceiling is now fixed.

  1.  Who views potential properties?

The British Embassy Norfolk Detachment (Tidewater) Housing Co-Ordinator will view all potential properties.  Should the Housing Co-Ordinator be unavailable another member of the Norfolk team will step in.

  1.  Why do I not get a choice in houses to pick from, like I would with DIO?

The BDS-US accommodation policy dictates that properties are issued on an allocation basis. We will endeavour to source a property that meets as many of your priorities as possible, whether that be location, schooling, house style, etc as you have detailed in your Housing Information Proforma.

  1. If I do not accept or reject my allocated property may I Self-Source?

No – The option to self-source is no longer an option in the Tidewater area. Personnel wishing to reject an allocation can only do so through the appeals process (details of which are available on UKGov.net).

  1. Will I have to pay accommodation charges?

Yes, as well as fuel & light, garage (if applicable) and furniture charges as if you were in the UK.

 What Banding will my property fall under?

All US properties enjoy a 2 Band overseas CAAS Band abatement. Currently the initial Band is “F” (this already includes the 2 band abatement)

  1.  I feel like I have been allocated an inferior property because I have a dog. This is unfair.

Securing a house in the Tidewater area within the set rental ceilings is very challenging, particularly during the summer period. Many property owners do not want tenants that come with pets or have size/weight restrictions which will obviously impact on the options available to the Housing Team. You must also be aware that where properties do allow pets, there will be a pet deposit fee, which you are responsible for and may not be refundable. Having a pet does not mean you will be allocated an inferior property.

  1.  Why does the Lt Shippham have a much larger property than me yet we both fulfil the same housing criteria?

All houses sought are based on the priorities indicated in your Housing Information Proforma and in accordance with BDS-US accommodation policy. However, as you will appreciate availability and timing is the main factor in what type of property are secured for our families. Due to the large transitory population in the Tidewater area even a week can make a difference. What we do endeavour to achieve is a property that meets your priorities.

  1.  Why can’t I have a house with a pool?

BDS-US accommodation policy clearly states that we are not to allocate properties with pools.

  1.  Why does Sqn Ldr Chumley – Brown have a house with a pool if they are not permitted?

The property would have been allocated prior to the change in BDSUS Accommodation Policy in 2013. BDS-US housing policy clearly states that we are not to allocate properties with pools, so this property will be released from inventory at the end of the current occupant’s tour.

  1.  Why is it that a RAF Warrant Officer can have a 4-bedroomed house by default of rank but Warrant Officers in the Army and RN/RM can’t?

BDS-US policy is taken directly from JSP464 Tri-Service Accommodation Regulations (TSARs) which entitle RAF Warrant Officers to occupy a Type D house regardless of family size.

  1.  Why is it not mandatory that all gardens must be fenced?

It must be realised that i.a.w. accommodation Policy there is no entitlement to be allocated a house with a garden. However, where possible your individual family circumstances are taken into account and a house allocated accordingly. Fenced gardens are not common place in the Tidewater Region. It would be impossible to find appropriate properties to meet all our requirements if this were a condition. If a fenced garden is placed as a priority in your Housing Information Proforma then we will take this into consideration when looking for your house but cannot guarantee that we can necessarily find one.

  1.  My house wasn’t clean when I arrived. Why was this allowed to happen?

 When a new lease is taken out, the Owner/Realtor is given instructions to clean the property to an acceptable standard which includes the cleaning of cookers and fridges. We also ask that any gardens are in a presentable state. Every effort is made to ensure that properties are handed over to us in acceptable standards; however, interpretations of standards will vary which may mean that the property may fall slightly short of expectations.

Properties which remain on inventory are inspected to march-out standards on vacating. If there are shortfalls in cleanliness and the handover/takeover period is very short then there may not be time to bring the property up to standard.

Please note there is no budget within BDS-US to employ cleaners.

  1.  I don’t like my house. Can I appeal for a move?

If you are unhappy with the house that has been allocated to you, you must refuse the property, in writing and follow the appeals process guidelines. If after arrival you find there are issues with your allocated property, you can contact the British Embassy Norfolk (Tidewater) Housing Co-ordinator and every effort will be made to rectify the shortcomings locally. In extreme circumstances, an Embassy led housing board may be required. These are conducted by a small team, made up from the British Embassy team in Washington/Tidewater, who will visit you in your property and make a final decision on whether you are entitled to a move at public expense. You will be able to request an additional member to the team, who will act as your independent representative.

  1.  How much furniture will I get?

Your house will be fully furnished in accordance with the criteria set against your house type which is laid out in JSP464. You will receive lamps for the living room and bedrooms, vacuum cleaner, white goods will be provided either by the MoD or the property landlord, and garden implements including a lawnmower if needed. On arrival you will be entitled to apply for a small electrical items grant and an Accommodation Supplemental Allowance to enable you to purchase other essential household items like ironing board, bins, curtains, bedding, iron and kettle.

  1.  Why did I not get brand-new furniture like Cpl Green?

You will be issued furniture in accordance to your house type which is fit for purpose. It is issued purely on a demand and supply basis and some families may end up with new stock and others will have older stock.

  1.  The lamps didn’t have bulbs in them when I arrived, that doesn’t seem right?

There is no budget within BDS-US to provide light bulbs. They are easily obtained through local supermarkets and department stores at relatively little expense. They are consumable items which cannot be claimed for, just like in the UK.