Coffee with Me

Base Housing July 8, 2008

Filed under: Base Living and 29 Palms — Melissa @ 1:23 pm

I’ve had questions before as to how it works with living in base housing.  In recent years a lot has changed as a private company acquired the housing and now manages them.  It used to all be run by the government and each individual base, but budgeting issues kept the houses at run down levels and not being filled to capacity. So a private company took them over, has been building new ones, renovating old ones, and managing them all. So far we like what we see…except for one thing that really bothers me but I’ll get to that.  🙂

Military members receive their pay based on their rank and how many years they’ve been in the Marine Corps.  So an E-5 makes more than an E-3, and an E-5 with 8 years makes more than an E-5 with 4 years in. There’s a yearly chart and one just has to look and there’s the pay.  Military members do get a cost of living raise each year and this is always a big topic of discussion!

The pay package includes housing, food, clothing allowance, and medical care. We do have dental insurance and life insurance but pay for those.  Housing is calculated by rank and by where you live.  An E-8 stationed at Camp Pendleton gets more housing allowance than an E-8 stationed in Kansas..for example.   The housing allowance is calculated based on rents in the local area and is supposed to cover 100% rent and utilities for housing that is appropriate for your rank.

Most ranks are only calculated by apartments, then it’s townhomes or duplexes and only E-9’s actually rate a single family home. (I can’t remember how the officer’s work.)  If an E-5 chooses to rent a single family home and has to pay more than his housing allowance, than that is his choice.  Housing allowance is NOT based on family size…only on rank and locale.

Base housing that is now privatized is run by a management company.  We pay rent for our house here on base.  Rent always equals the amount of BAH (basic allowance for housing) that you receive.  Utilities are included (and why it is a good deal especially where you use a lot of electricity for A/C!).

Houses are given out based on rank and how many family members you have. Some housing is all ranks, but then some housing is just for officers, some for Staff NCO’s, and so forth.  We happen to live in Staff NCO housing here and so all our neighbors will be E-6 through E-9.  We have a 4-bedroom house and we pay rent for the housing allowance amount that we rate as an E-8.

Here’s the kicker.  The E-6 down the street living in the same 4-bedroom pays rent based on his BAH.  Probably $300 less.  For the same house!

I mentioned the one thing that bothers me…I believe housing should be given out based on rank.  The biggest houses to E-9’s and on down the line.  Since we paying based on rank, then houses should be given out based on rank (instead of by how many people you have in your family).  I don’t feel it’s right for a newly married E-8 to get a 2 bedroom for the same amount I pay for my 4-bedroom.

Now we all have the choice to live out in town, and a LOT of people do.  We did at our last 2 duty stations and we loved it.  But that’s still my pet peeve.

What do I love about living on base? The close proximity to Roy’s work, the commissary (grocery store), the exchange (like a Mervyn’s or Penney’s sort of), food, the pools, the gym, etc.  Everything is very close and we’re hardly spending any money on gas.

I love that, unlike owning our home in VA, I can call maintenance and they come fix everything!  We don’t have to fix ANYTHING!  They even change the light bulbs! Roy doesn’t have a list of projects/fixes to do every weekend!

We also don’t have to mow!  Okay, we do mow our backyard because it’s fenced.  But if it wasn’t fenced we wouldn’t mow that either.  They have a landscaping crew that takes care of it all.  I even called about getting rock put into my dirt flower bed.  Looks much better now and I didn’t have to lift a finger.

Our housing area does have grass and so we water…but a lot of the housing on this base is just rock.  No watering required.

There are negatives to living on base.  Close to work. LOL  All your neighbors are military.  There are a LOT of children everywhere.  On our street every house has at least 3 children.  With…hmm..about 30 houses on our cul-de-sac, that’s 90 children on one street!  Not the norm in most neighborhoods.

Another negative would be the same as having any rental. This isn’t our home. They’re pretty lenient about letting you paint and so forth but no remodeling!  And everything must be returned to white before you move out.  And of course, there are rules, like living in a HOA, about where you can park, about noise, about trash, and so forth.

Overall, I like it so far and I’m glad to not be paying for the A/C above and beyond my rent.  🙂

and I mentioned before, this is the biggest kitchen we’ve ever had.  I hate the cupboards and countertops but they work.  But all the cupboard space…and the long countertops…wonderful!!!

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5 Responses to “Base Housing”

  1. Tawna Says:

    I just thought I’d let you know, I’ve learned that this housing area houses E1-E9. Nice, huh? A direct quote from the PPV lady – “Lance Corporals need houses too. Your husband was a LCpl once.”

    Me: “Yes, he was. I don’t deny that. However, when we were married and he was a LCpl, we had one kid and were on the waiting list for almost 2 months. Then, we lived where LCpls belong. With other NonNCOs and NCOs. There’s nothing wrong with that. There is something wrong w/ us paying $1346 for the same house that a LCpl is paying just under $1000 for.”

    Blah blah blah. I also learned that if they have the room and no one on the list then they’ll move us to bigger and better housing. 😀 But not until our initial six months are up. So, November. Oh how I pray for that! Moving season is now, right? In November it should be a piece of cake, right? Just say yes, please say yes. Ha ha ha.

  2. ashley Says:

    Hi! I am going to be moving to the 29 plams base after my fiance’ gets back form deployment and we get married. I have a rough idea as to what all we are going to be needing as far as basic furniture etc. and your pictures have really helped a lot! I was just wondering, do you have any advice as far as little things that you wish you would’ve brought?I live in alabama so it’s not like I can run back home if I forget something haha.
    Thanks!

  3. Jamie Says:

    Man that one woman who left a comment was catty. I totally agree. I am moving back to 29 when 3/7 gets back, and I have had several run arounds with the housing office. I think that rank should totally play the roll in what neighborhood you are in, # of bedrooms( with the amount of children), amount of wait time. I personally would not feel comfortable in a officer neighborhood as an enlisted wife. We do not pay the same BAH. There should be some incentive and perks for the servicemembers that stay in a long time I think that a bigger house should suffice. My husband was lance when we got married so I have seen this both ways. I was told I’m getting Adobe so…If you have any info on the 3 bedroom Adobe let me know thanks. PS I like all the info that your page offers

  4. Janae Says:

    I live in PA at Carlisle Barracks. This is the War College. We have been here for 2 years and have been on the waiting list for a 4 bedroom for over a year now. They are building new housing and have some completed. We have been bumped 4 times on the waiting list. They are building single family homes, but only for Officers. Yet, they have put Officers in the duplexs that are for enlisted. I am so frustrated with our housing office.


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