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Housing Options for Service Members and Families

One of the great benefits of moving with the military is that you and your family will likely have a number of housing options once you reach your new location. Each comes with different upsides and caveats, so be sure to consider your options carefully and contact the housing office at your military installation to find out which options are available to you at the time of your move.

What are my military housing choices?

Moving is a significant and exciting time. Make sure to give yourself time to make the right housing decision for you and your family. Remember to communicate with your local housing office to help you sort through your housing options.

  • Government-owned military installation housing is owned and maintained by the Department of Defense. Your basic allowance for housing is used for rent and most utilities. With this government-provided housing option, you will not receive a basic allowance for housing.
  • Privatized military installation housing allows military members and their families to live in a home built and maintained by a private-sector company. The Department of Defense has invested in privatized military installation housing in the last couple of decades. You can live in this housing and use your basic allowance for housing to pay for your rent. You will be expected to pay for your own utilities. You may be able to cover some of those utilities with your housing allowance, but that depends if the allowance amount exceeds your rent or if you choose to rent a home that exceeds your allowance. In some cases, you may be expected to buy renters insurance.
  • Single or unaccompanied military installation housing is often referred to as “the barracks” or “bachelor quarters.” These dormitories are not always private. Some service members share a room or a bathroom. The upside: this housing option comes rent free.
  • You can rent a home off the military installation. Before signing a contract, review carefully and ensure the contract has a military clause in it that allows you to break the lease if you are reassigned or deployed. If you have questions about a rental agreement and breaking a lease, contact your closest legal assistance office through MilitaryINSTALLATIONS or the Armed Forces Legal Assistance Legal Services Locator.
  • Buying a home is a big investment. If you choose to buy a home outside of the military installation, then you need to be prepared to sell it or to find someone who is willing to rent it relatively quickly. First, find a house that fits your family’s size and needs. Next, factor in the length of your commute, the cost of the home and the maintenance fees associated with the home. It would also be prudent to check to see if your military installation’s housing office is offering a class on home buying.

Military OneSource or your installation’s housing office can help you find the perfect housing option so that you can master your move.

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