Military Housing – You DO Have Options

In: Index

17 Dec 2013

If you are new to the military, it may seem like all your decisions are now made for you from what to wear to where you and family will live. But if you think you’re stuck with military housing, think again. Whether it’s an apartment for rent or maybe even buying a home, you do have options – probably more than you realize. Read on to discover just what those options are and which might be right for you.

On-Installation Housing

The only thing that’s consistent about military housing is that it’s different from installation to installation. You can find anything from single family homes to high-rise apartment buildings – without elevators! However, no matter what type of housing you find available, that housing will fall into one of these three categories:

  • Single housing. This is a common option for unmarried military members or for military members who are separated from their families (such as during a deployment). Single housing is a lot like a college dormitory with shared living space. This is a good option for soldiers who want to save money by not paying rent or utilities – and who don’t mind communal living.
  • Government-owned housing. If you and your family are living overseas, this is often the only option. The Department of Defense (DoD) owns and manages the property so you don’t pay rent or utilities.
  • Privatized housing. An increasingly common option, military members sign a lease and pay rent directly to a civilian property manager. While the military member is responsible for rent and utilities, the DoD helps offset costs by paying military members a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) that can be used to pay rent.

Off-Installation Housing

Many families choose to live off-installation. This is often for privacy or to enjoy the local culture. However, this is usually a more expensive option depending on local area housing and utility costs. There are several ways in which the military helps families who choose this option including tax-free housing allowances, the Automated Housing Referral Network (AHRV) and rental partnership programs. Housing allowances help offset moving costs and the cost of hotel stays while trying to find a place to live in your new duty station. The AHRV connects military members with available homes and apartments both in the civilian sector and privatized installation housing. Rental partnership programs are created when civilian property managers set aside units for military members. With all these options available, you’re sure to find one that you and/or your family will enjoy.

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