The Defence Infrastructure Organisation has initiated a long-term project to sub-let empty Service homes that are not currently required.
As well as the normal management margin required to ensure properties are available for families where we have sufficient homes, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has retained some additional properties until the future needs of Defence are fully known.
This approach gives us flexibility to manage the requirements of the Front Line Commands, however, empty properties do no generate any income, and instead draw revenue away that could otherwise be invested elsewhere in the estate.
The needs of Service personnel and their families has been considered throughout this project, therefore entitled and eligible Service personnel continue to take priority for SFA and should apply for accommodation as they normally would.
Where there is no requirement from Service families, empty properties will considered on a site by site basis in consultation with local commanders, for sub-let to private tenants - who will be subject to credit and reference checks. This will be on a short term arrangement, so we could return homes back to MOD control if a requirement emerges.
Overall, our planning has been to implement this project without disadvantaging Service personnel, whilst maximising revenue from rental receipts from empty properties that are currently not required.
Why are these properties being sub-let?
The current size and cost of the Defence estate is not sustainable, including the cost of maintaining empty Service homes. The MOD and DIO are undertaking a number of initiatives to address these issues. In addition to other initiatives such as disposals, a sub-let project has begun with the aim of generating income through short term lets, whilst providing flexibility to meet the future needs of defence.
How many houses could be sub-let under this arrangement?
An initial 2,300 homes could be made available under these arrangements
Will Service personnel and their families be affected?
All of our planning has been to ensure that families are not affected. We:
- Have chosen sites where there is adequate surplus accommodation that is not required.
- Plan where possible to release houses in groups rather than individual properties so they can be managed more effectively.
- Have considered security.
- Will consult with local commanders and other stakeholders so we understand any local issues.
- Aim to ensure that Service families are not disadvantaged.
Where additional revenue is going?
Revenue raised by this project will be returned to the Defence Infrastructure Organisation as part of its overall running and investment in the estate – therefore it will be targeted to where it is needed most to meet the needs of defence.
How has security been considered?
Specific security issues will be considered at each site. Furthermore every potential private tenant will be subject to credit and reference checks.
Has the chain of command been consulted?
The chain of command and other stakeholders will be consulted and their feedback will be taken into consideration. Service families in each area will also be informed.
Who is going to get these houses?
The properties will be available on the open private rental market, with potential tenants subject to normal credit and reference checks.
Will it affect Service families’ access to housing or the maintenance service?
Service families will continue to get Service homes and the normal contracted response repair times will continue to apply. We will monitor this performance as we do now.
Will the properties be improved for the private tenants?
These properties will not be improved, but they will be prepared and checked for maintenance and safety prior to occupation, just as they are for Service families prior to move in. Investment for improving Service homes will continue to be targeted at homes occupied by Service families.