The mobile nature of Service life can have an impact on home ownership. Whether you are looking to get on the property ladder or you already own your own home, there will be additional considerations that arise from Service.

Getting on the property ladder

If you are thinking of buying your own home and need some advice there are organisations and schemes offering assistance specifically for the Armed Forces community.

  • Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) – the JSHAO provides specific housing information to encourage Service personnel and their families to consider their civilian housing options at any point in their career.

  • Forces Help to Buy – A scheme to help Armed Forces personnel get on the property ladder.

  • Money Helper – makes your money choices clearer with impartial guidance that’s backed by government. Check out its mortgage affordability calculator and free guides on property matters.

  • Citizens Advice – the home buying page contains everything you need to know when buying a home, including a full list of costs and legal steps.

Home ownership considerations for Service personnel

Due to mobility and time spent outside the UK there may be periods of time when you will be living away from home. Here we share options for your property and relevant legislation.

Renting out your property

Thanks to the Armed Forces Covenant, as a Service person you can rent out your property without facing higher mortgage interest charges or having to switch to a buy to let mortgage. Check out providers that have signed up, here.

Before you take out a mortgage with a new provider, check they will allow you to rent it out with the existing mortgage if you have to move, and ask if there are any other charges involved in letting your property.

Changes to letting legislation (Tax)

Anyone who owns a property and rents it out must pay tax on the rental income. You can currently deduct certain costs before working out your tax bill, such as management agent’s fees, maintenance and repairs.

Under regulations prior to 2017, you could include the interest portion of your mortgage payment with the costs. However, new rules mean you can no longer offset this. Tax is applied to the total rental income you receive, rather than what is left after your mortgage has been paid.  This means Service families will be liable for tax to be paid each year on the rental income they receive.  Check what this means for you when considering buying a property that you may wish to let out.

Empty home considerations

You may need to consider ‘void’ periods if your property is empty – consider times when you may need to pay your mortgage as well as any other housing costs.

Check what your letting agent charges to administer your letting and maintenance.  Costs can vary between providers and the charges they levy for certain services can also be different from one provider to another.

Council tax is usually payable on empty homes.  However if you are a member of  the Armed Forces who has to move into service accommodation due to work commitments you will not need to pay this: How Council Tax works: Second homes and empty properties – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Selling your home

Refund of Legal ExpensesIf you are a homeowner who is permanently assigned to a new duty station and you decide to sell your home and buy another at your new duty station, you could get a contribution towards your legal expenses: Relocation – Refund of Legal Expenses | RAF | Discover My Benefits (mod.gov.uk)