Frequently Asked Questions about Department of National Defence Housing

I want to live in Department of National Defence housing. How is housing assigned to Canadian Armed Forces members and their families?

The Canadian Forces Housing Agency manages housing for Department of National Defence and assigns housing based on the household size, on a first-come, first-served basis.

For example, if a family with two children applies for a house on Monday and another family of the same size applies on Tuesday, the former family will be offered a house first.

If you are considering living in Department of National Defence housing, please ensure you are eligible and and submit your application as soon as you receive your posting message.

There are no housing units available where I’m posted. If I move into housing in the local market, will I still be considered a Priority 1 applicant when Department of National Defence housing becomes available?

Our priority is to support applicants who are moving to a new location and help them secure suitable accommodation as soon as possible. You are considered a Priority 1 applicant when you are posted to the new location. As soon as you move into the local market, you become a Priority 2 applicant, because you already have housing.

I notified my Housing Services Centre of an issue with my housing unit and I’m still waiting for the issue to be resolved. How does the Canadian Forces Housing Agency manage issues with housing units raised by occupants?

We are committed to maintaining the highest standard of customer service and to responding to questions promptly. Your questions and feedback are always welcome as they help to continuously improve service standards. The Housing Services Centres prioritize work based on the following repair and maintenance priorities:

  • Emergency – A problem in your home is considered an emergency if it affects your health and safety or if leaving it untended would cause significant damage to your personal property or home. You can expect immediate action, day or night, in these circumstances. We will make the situation safe and begin work to minimize risk of injury or damage to the property or the environment. Subsequent work may be required in the following days. 
  • Same Day Service – This category applies to situations that could have an impact on your health or safety or cause damage to your home, but is not as urgent as above. This may include blocked drains, leaking pipes, no hot water, etc.
  • Routine Maintenance – We aim to fix these problems within 14 days. Your customer service representative will tell you how long it will take and notify you if it will take longer than anticipated. These problems would include repairs such as countertop replacements, flooring repairs, etc.

For more information, please contact your local Housing Services Centre. You can also reach our Head Office Customer Service team by email at CFHA-ALFC.HOPSCS-GLSC@forces.gc.ca or by phone at 1 888-459-2342.

How are decisions made for the repair and maintenance of our home?

The Canadian Forces Housing Agency looks at the health and safety of its families and communities first when scheduling maintenance and repairs; including if the repair is critical to your family’s health and safety and whether it is needed to prevent further deterioration of your home.

In other situations, the Agency will decide when to do the work. For example, in an effort to reduce disruptions to families, the Agency may consider waiting until there is a change of occupancy.

Other considerations factored into the decision-making include: Can the work be done now, or can it wait? Is the work required to meet current codes or standards? Will the work benefit both current and future households? Can the work be done using the home’s current structure? What can be done while the home is occupied?

For more information, please contact your local Housing Services Centre or the Agency Customer Service team. You can reach the Head Office Customer Service team by email at CFHA-ALFC.HOPSCS-GLSC@forces.gc.ca or by phone at 1 888-459-2342.

How does the Canadian Forces Housing Agency decide where and how it spends money on the houses? For example, why is my neighbour getting a new furnace and I am not getting my new garage?

Government departments and agencies are assigned specific budgets, and each budget is reserved for specific types of activities. At the Canadian Forces Housing Agency, there is a budget for planned activities, such as additions or renovations to meet current codes and standards (like building a new garage), and a budget for repairs, maintenance and emergency work such as replacing a furnace.

The Agency looks at how much money was spent in the past, and where, in order to determine how much of the current budget is set aside for planned projects and how much goes to repairs, maintenance and emergency work.

Since the demand for work and improvements to housing units is greater than the amount provided for in the budget, the Agency looks at the health and safety of our families and communities first when setting priorities for projects and work orders.

In other words, there is more funding to fix a door or replace a window which is critical to the comfort and healthy living conditions of a unit, than there is for a complete kitchen renovation. However, the Agency does attempt to invest in lower priority housing improvements depending on the funds available.

For more information about projects taking place in your area or to discuss a concern about your home, please contact your local Housing Services Centre or the Agency Customer Service team. You can reach the Head Office Customer Service team by email at CFHA-ALFC.HOPSCS-GLSC@forces.gc.ca or by phone at 1 888-459-2342.

I am having a problem with my neighbour. What can I do?

The Canadian Forces Housing Agency does not intervene in community-related problems. You are therefore advised to:

  • seek assistance form your community council
  • contact your Military Police Office if the issue involves a breach of law
  • contact your local Housing Service Centre if the issue involves a breach of the Licence to Occupy or to the rules and regulations contained in the Occupant Handbook
If I am not satisfied with the housing services I have been provided from the Canadian Forces Housing Agency, what are my next steps?

Step 1

You should contact the local Housing Services Centre staff by email, telephone or in person, to discuss the situation and attempt to find a timely solution.

If you are not satisfied with the results, you may wish to escalate the complaint to the local Housing Services Centre manager, who will investigate the matter and advise you of the steps being taken to resolve the situation.

Step 2

If you are still not satisfied after having completed step 1, please forward the complaint to the Customer Service section at CFHA Head Office for review and decision. The Customer Service section will work with you and the Housing Services Centre to settle the issue. Once your concern has been thoroughly investigated, you will receive the results in writing.  If the investigation is expected to take more than ten working days, we will let you know when a response can be expected.

 

Rent Adjustment Process for Fiscal Year 2018-2019

How are the rental rates for the DND housing units set?

According to Government policy and Department of National Defence (DND) regulations, rents for all DND housing must reflect local market values for similar homes in the local market. This helps to ensure fairness and equity for military families, regardless of whether they choose to live in the private sector or in Crown housing. In addition, Government of Canada policy states that DND housing shall be set at market rates to avoid competition with the private sector.

In other words, the policy ensures that a military member is provided with DND housing at a rental cost that is similar to what others in their neighbourhood in the private sector, with a similar housing unit, would pay.

To meet these regulations, we review rents across the country on a yearly basis and make adjustments to reflect changes in the local market, based on the initial value of the unit. 

Since April 2014, like other government departments, DND has used Statistics Canada’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) to determine its annual housing rent adjustments.

How does the Consumer Price Index (CPI) work?

As defined on the Statistics Canada’s website, “the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is an indicator of the changes in consumer prices experienced by the target population. The CPI measures price change by comparing, over time, the cost of a fixed basket of goods and services.” Once Statistics Canada publishes the report in the fall, CFHA applies the provincial Rented Accommodation CPI accordingly to the housing rents.

What percentage will the rent increase be across Canada for fiscal year (FY) 2018-2019?

The national average for the CPI-based rent adjustment process for FY 2018-2019 will be an increase of 0.7%, with the maximum increase being 1.3%. Yellowknife and Iqaluit rents will be adjusted by 1.7% using the All-Items Consumer Price Index as provided by the Treasury Board Secretariat as there is no Rented Accommodation CPI value for that area.

How does this percentage increase translate to actual rental costs?

For 2018, the national average shelter charge increase for DND housing units will be approximately $5 per month, representing 0.7%.

Aren’t our houses old? What have we done to improve the condition of DND housing?

We are aware that some of DND’s housing is aging, and we are committed to the improvement, modernization and repair of housing units at bases and wings across the country to contribute to the quality of life of military families.

In total, CFHA spent $147 million, including $50 million from the Federal Infrastructure Investments Program into the DND residential housing portfolio in FY 2016-2017. Condition assessments for that year demonstrated that 86% of DND’s houses were in average condition or better.

Can I see the details of the appraisals and how the rent increase was applied to individual DND housing rental units?

We are committed to ensuring the integrity and transparency of the rent-setting process. The local Housing Services Centre (HSC) can provide some of the analytical information used for the appraisals and information about the methodology that was used in the appraisal process. However, it is not possible to release specific details such as the addresses of comparable houses on the local market or the specific addresses of military members because this information is collected and established on a confidential basis and is protected by the Privacy Act.

Does having a garage change an occupant’s rent?

A garage increases the value of the residential housing unit and therefore increases the rent of the property.

When a garage is attached to the house, on-lot or a row garage specifically assigned to the house, the garage value is included in the rent value and the occupant does not see the garage as a separate charge.

When a garage is not assigned to a specific dwelling (more common with row garages), the rent for these garages appears as a separate (additional) charge to the individual.

Is provincial rent control applicable to DND housing?

Provincial rent control is applicable in accordance with regulations. Occupants in rent control provinces in 2018 may see their rent increase up to the provincial limits (British Columbia at 4%, Manitoba at 1.3% and Ontario at 1.8%) if they were not paying the full Base Shelter Value (BSV) in the previous year. That means an increase can be higher than the CPI percentage increase.

Does DND offer any housing financial assistance to military members?

Rents (excluding parking costs and utilities) cannot exceed 25% of the combined gross household income for all families living in DND housing. If a member believes they are eligible for a rent reduction, they may apply to their HSC for review.

Additionally, the rents for fiscal year 2018-2019 for privates (Incentive Pay Categories 1 or 2) and officer cadets, in accordance with DND regulations, are limited to the rent rate in effect on March 31, 2018 plus 0.7% (the national average increase).

Will the Post Living Differential (PLD) be adjusted to help with the new rent?

While the PLD rates currently remain at 2008 levels, the Government of Canada is working to establish a new PLD framework that is affordable and sustainable. PLD rates are reviewed regularly to help military personnel and their families with the cost of living when posted to various locations across Canada.

The PLD allowance is separate from pay. More information on this allowance is available in Chapter 205.45 on Allowances for Officers and Non-Commissioned Members.

Military members continue to be supported by a robust compensation and benefits package, reflecting the unique nature and demands placed on military members and their families. Components of the total compensation package are continuously reviewed and updated as required. The PLD is one component of the overall benefits package.

If a housing unit is renovated, will the rent increase?

Only major upgrades (total renovation, kitchen and bathroom renovation, etc.) increase the value of the unit and consequently the rent. Repairs and maintenance projects such as plumbing, electrical, or counter replacements will not have an impact on the rent.

What happens if the member does not want to pay the new rent increase?

Living in DND housing is optional for military members and their families. We aim to accommodate every member’s needs, while ensuring all terms, conditions, and policies are understood and respected by both parties. 

Do rental rates take into account a military member’s rank?

Rent is purely based on the local market value which considers housing type, size, and age, as well as access to amenities, additions like a garage and general condition of the units. Rank or size of the family is not a consideration for rent setting.

Do the renovations to the houses make them “greener”?

In many cases, yes. We conduct energy efficiency evaluations of housing units by means of Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide for Houses (EGH) for each major renovation or new construction project. EnerGuide 70 targets need to be met for energy efficient upgrades to existing housing units, whereas the EnerGuide 80 target needs to be met for energy efficient newly constructed housing units. Obtaining energy efficient ratings for these housing units will contribute to the Department’s green building objectives, provide an element of quality assurance of contractor’s work, and demonstrate the Agency’s commitment to comfortable and energy efficient housing for the end user. 

By also replacing heating, cooling, and ventilation systems with energy efficient models and by improving building envelopes in the residential portfolio, DND improves energy efficiency, uses resources more efficiently, has less environmental impact, and may reduce the financial impact to occupants from increasing energy prices.

 

Cold Lake

Why has there been a 10% rent reduction in Cold Lake since 2013?

To ensure military housing continues to be a viable option for military members living in Cold Lake, and to address the issue of a high vacancy rate for DND’s housing, in December 2012 the Minister of National Defence directed a reduction in rents by 10% effective April 1, 2013, to encourage occupancy for military members living in DND housing in Cold Lake.

It should be noted that when rent is reduced to less than the fair market value calculated for DND housing, the difference between what is being charged and the market value is considered a taxable benefit as per the Income Tax Act.

How does the 10% rent reduction work?

In order to ensure military housing continued to be a viable option for military members living in Cold Lake, and to address the issue of a high vacancy rate for DND housing, in December 2012 the Minister of National Defence directed a reduction in rents by 10% to encourage occupancy for military members in DND housing in Cold Lake effective April 1, 2013. This also served to offset the significant increase in rents for FY 2013-14 as appraised by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. This 10% reduction was re-approved for each subsequent year since, including 2018.

What about rental costs for DND housing in Cold Lake? The local market rental cost has dropped over the past couple of years.

According to Government policy and DND regulations, rent for all housing units must reflect local market values for similar homes to ensure fairness and equity for military families, regardless of whether they choose to live in the private sector or in DND housing.

We are committed to ensuring this policy and DND regulations are met, which is why the rents are reviewed and adjusted annually.

What will the average rent adjustment be for housing units at Cold Lake?

For the 521 currently occupied housing units, the appraised FY 2018-2019 rent will be on average $127 per month (or 0.8%) lower than the full 2017-2018 rent (without the 10% adjustment).

With the 10% reduction in place for FY 2017-2018, occupants saved an average of $98 per month. With the FY 2018-2019 rent reduction of 0.8, occupants will have the appraised rent of their housing unit reduced by an average of $7 per month. With the 10% reduction continuing for 2018-2019, occupants will save an average of $97 per month (as the appraised rent is lowering by an average of $7 per month, the 10% reduction is also slightly lower).

How many military members in Cold Lake will pay less for rent in DND housing in 2018 than they did last year?

All 521 current occupants will pay less than they did last year. However, if an occupant was benefiting from rent being reduced (not to exceed 25% of gross household income in FY 2017-2018) and no longer qualifies in FY 2018-2019 (i.e., FY 2018-2019 income ensures rent is not more that 25% of gross household income) they may have an additional out-of-pocket monthly expense.

Will any military members in Cold Lake pay more for rent in DND housing in 2018 than they did last year?

If an occupant was benefiting from rent being reduced (not to exceed 25% of gross household income in FY 2017-2018) and no longer qualifies in FY 2018-2019 (i.e., FY 2018-2019 income ensures rent is not more that 25% of gross household income) they may have an additional out-of-pocket monthly expense. 

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