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MOD London Accommodation

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MOD London Accommodation

Old 30th May 2020, 16:08
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Army territory
Age: 54
Posts: 26
MOD London Accommodation

Hi All, hoping somebody may be able give me some advice on the current policy of London housing. I am due to take up a post in Main Building , I have never had a posting there before and at the sunset of my career I have been offered a good job down there. What is the current situation in getting accommodation, I am married but will be serving unaccompanied as a Sqn Ldr. I know the regs and entitlements seem to change regularly (normally to the detriment of the receiver!).

A​​​​ny top tips well received!

Thank you
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Old 30th May 2020, 16:29
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Northamptonshire
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You don't say where you live now. Is daily travel a sensible consideration? Would you be able to afford a flat in a suburb? If your job takes you away on 'the road' for a goodly portion of your time, you might even want to think about staying at a club when needed or casually in something like a Premier Inn.

I've seen people travel from quite a long way up the line because it was easier than any sort of commute from a suburb. I recall the engineer who commuted from Edinburgh by air - yes, honest but that was a long time ago.

Old Duffer
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Old 30th May 2020, 16:35
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Army territory
Age: 54
Posts: 26
Thank you OD, I live a good couple of hours away in the west country and my job is a 5 day a week rooted to the chair role. I cannot imagine travelling up and down on a daily basis as it is a minimum 2 hour each way. So really looking at what the system offers in the way of SSFA and the reality of what we are offered. As for travelling from Edinburgh every day........blimey, hats off!
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Old 30th May 2020, 17:27
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Join Date: Apr 2009
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If serving unaccompanied you will be entitled to SSSA provided that:

- You intend to spend at least 4 nights per week there as a matter of routine (excepting duty nights away).

- Your family home is more than 50 miles or 1.5 hours away (not a problem for you!)

- You do not own or rent a property within 45 minutes’ commute by public transport of the duty location. If you are the landlord of such a property, you will be expected to evict the tenant at the end of their lease and live there yourself... you will only be entitled to SSSA for the interim period. I know someone who ended up daily commuting over 200 miles to MOD because he owned a buy-to-let in south London and was not aware of this restriction when he took the posting.

Individual costs are roughly what you’d pay in a Mess: a couple of hundred per month if unmarried, nothing if married unaccompanied... cue the usual argument.

You will get a small unreceipted allowance to cover the additional cost of feeding yourself in London over and above the cost of dining in a Mess (FIA). Eat frugally and set it against an occasional after-work pint, one of the best bits of a MOD job.

As you won’t be driving to MOD, your HDT allowance usually goes on a Travelcard from the zone in which your SSSA lies. If you will use other means (bike or river bus) you can ask for an allowance toward that instead. You will pay ~10% monthly personal contribution.

You’ll also get GYH as with any other unaccompanied posting. If you intend to drive your weekly commute then SSSA location and car parking will be important, and get used to late Sunday or very early Monday travel! Check out the upcoming expansion of the ULEZ too as you might need to upgrade to a cleaner car. If your weekly commute is by train NB that you won’t be entitled to station car park charges or rail tickets - just the GYH. Ask your boss if you can arrive at work on the first off-peak train on a Monday to save a small fortune... if they say no, get the last train on a Sunday night.

As for what you can expect: sqn ldrs and above are entitled to a 1-bedroom flat, although you can opt to share a multi-bedroom property (the agency will match-make unless you do the work for them: see below). Some choose to do this as you get more space, and with sensible planning (and cleanliness!) you can use each others’ bedrooms to host families/visitors when they’re away for the weekend.

Unfortunately the old days of choosing from a shortlist of 3 properties have gone: you’ll get one choice, take it or leave it. You can express preferences (eg for location, car parking, commuting time, sharing) but the agency will be looking to fill vacancies in its portfolio rather than satisfy your every last desire. There is a (unpublished) cap rate and you can tick a box saying that you’re happy to pay extra if they find something above it that meets your preferences.

Worst case, you end up 45 minutes away by Tube (the maximum the agency is allowed) on the far side of town from home, wondering why you aren’t daily commuting. Best case, a 10 minute walk from the Pimlico/Westminster boundary. Both are pretty rare though: 30 minutes’ commute is typical. You can take the luck out of it using your network to find someone in a reasonable gaff whose flat mate has been posted, or is about to be posted themselves (maybe your predecessor?): if you offer the agency a ready-made solution they may just give you it.

If you do take the job, contact the Joint Services Admin Unit (London) and ask for a Word version of the SSSA application form, which you can preview in the JSP (link below). There is obviously a lot more small print to deal with in there but it is a well-trodden path and JSAU(L) know it well. Good luck... and ask your predecessor to put feelers out for SSSA options!

JSPs: Accommodation, Allowances

Last edited by Easy Street; 1st Jun 2020 at 12:25.
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Old 30th May 2020, 17:45
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Join Date: Dec 2000
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ES check PMs
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Old 30th May 2020, 20:05
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Join Date: Sep 2010
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How things have changed!
Just over 40 years ago I was selected to do a specialist year's assignment in Central London as a singlie.
"Can you commute daily if we put you in an out of London Mess?"
" No , I have late evening and other irregular commitments that are essential for task conduct"
" Do you wish us to suggest accommodation options?"
" Nope, already sorted" (Sharing a 4 bedroom house plus garage with a mate from the Home Office, also within cycling distance of the area of operation)
"So Inner London Allowance would put it it all to bed then ?"
"Yes indeed."
And that was it,
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Old 30th May 2020, 20:15
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Join Date: Oct 2011
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Easy Street, thank you for such a comprehensive answer. I will speak to my predecessor and see how he is sorting himself out. Clearly the days of yore are well and truly gone but hopefully there is still some reasonable offers around. Can't imagine there are that many folks still working in town these days!
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Old 30th May 2020, 23:43
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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And personnel still volunteer to work in London ‘unaccompanied’ knowing there is this hassle and uncertainty of getting decent accommodation..........?
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Old 31st May 2020, 02:12
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Join Date: Mar 2008
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Jamesman The Victory Services Club are looking after service personnel in London.
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Old 31st May 2020, 12:13
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Join Date: Oct 2013
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Originally Posted by Could be the last? View Post
And personnel still volunteer to work in London ‘unaccompanied’ knowing there is this hassle and uncertainty of getting decent accommodation..........?
And you have to pay towards doing it with travel costs.

If I had stayed on the EngO path I'd be 16 years in. I wonder if I would have a different view on that if I was inside looking out rather than outside looking in.
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Old 31st May 2020, 16:33
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Wilts
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I left there a few years ago and thought that it was a good gig. FIA is reasonable, coupled with GYH(T) means that you can live fairly reasonably with the money provided. Couple that with an Oyster card (albeit that you pay a meagre contribution towards) and I rather enjoyed my time there. Sold the car and embraced public transport with a railcard. In fact, I'm looking to go back there on my next tour.

As for accommodation, I had an input into where I could choose from and had a look around a couple before settling on one. If I was to go back, I'd avoid the Canary Wharf/South Quay area. However things may have changed.
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Old 1st Jun 2020, 07:20
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Plymouth
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I had a very good experience, as a Sqn Ldr you get a one bedroom flat and Mears were very good at finding somewhere suitable and doing all of the march in administration etc. For the two weeks that I had to wait (as the first option they found fell through) they put me up in a nice hotel (holiday inn, small room but good facilities and just off Kensington High St). Everyone I know that was assigned into London recently got a nice flat in a decent area, that they were happy with.
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Old 1st Jun 2020, 08:23
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: England
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I have SSSA I’m soon to vacate so sent you a PM
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Old 1st Jun 2020, 08:30
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: London
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Couple that with an Oyster card
You don't need one of those any more. Just a contactless bank or credit card.
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Old 1st Jun 2020, 11:49
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Join Date: Sep 2004
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Originally Posted by AndoniP View Post
You don't need one of those any more. Just a contactless bank or credit card.
But if you have a Forces Railcard you can apply it to your Oyster card, you just have to ask one of the staff at any Underground station. Not sure how widely known that is, but makes it even cheaper. It’s why I never use my debit card for the tube.
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Old 1st Jun 2020, 12:23
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Join Date: Apr 2009
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Originally Posted by AndoniP View Post
You don't need one of those any more. Just a contactless bank or credit card.
You do need an Oyster card if you want to use the season Travelcard which HM provides.

I have edited my earlier post to correct the rank entitlement for single bed flats (sqn ldrs are entitled) and the maximum commuting time (45mins) having fact-checked myself in JSP464 Vol2 Pt2!
Easy Street is online now  
Old 2nd Jun 2020, 18:48
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Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: southwest
Posts: 4
Hi Bluntnotsharp, I have had a bit of a meltdown with my links and log ons. Suffice to say I am no longer able to use Jamesman as my log on (god knows why!!). Are you able to re PM me your message. Thank you

===============================

Until you have a posting history you don't have access to private messaging and adding urls.
inthecountry is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2020, 18:54
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Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: southwest
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Hi Clearedtoroll, I have just a a bit of a nightmare with passwords etc on the system and for some reason they will not give my jamesman handle back. So I am now 'inthecountry' from now on. Are you able to PM me the email you sent previously. I spoke to my predecessor today and he has a place in Fulham, but he has a dog and has opted for a less desirable place due to that but it suits his position. He advised me that Mears are now giving people fairly new and good accommodation. Not sure of your position, but please let me know. Thank you and apologies for my admin b*lls up!!!
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Old 3rd Jun 2020, 20:23
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: England
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I tried but I think your new profile can't yet accept PMs?
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Old 3rd Jun 2020, 21:02
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Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: southwest
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Apparently my pm's are full (not yet had or received any yet). Hopefully the moderators can correct this, trying to contact them is a challenge tbc!
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