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Hundreds of serving British soldiers and their families are forced to live in disgracefully squalid homes riddled faults, black with mould and stained with urine – with some even handed leaflets on how to deal with ‘legionnaires disease, asbestos and damp’. 

Do you live in a rundown MoD home?

Please email Jacob.Thorburn@mailonline.co.uk

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Disturbing photographs shared anonymously with MailOnline reveal the horrors many of our brave armed forces are enduring in crumbling homes assigned to them by the Ministry of Defence. 

On the British Army’s website, they explain serving Armed Forces personnel and their families are ‘able to live in high quality, subsidised accommodation both in the UK and overseas’.

But the reality for British Army families suggests a different story – one in which young families are growing increasingly concerned about health and safety in their properties. 

Basic issues with central heating, cooking appliances and leaks are reported in their homes, as the National Audit Office (NAO) warned there were £1.5billion worth of urgent repairs the MoD needed to finish within their ‘substandard accommodation‘.

As of last year, more than a third of the 80,000 servicemen and women living in MoD subsidised accommodation were living in ‘poorer grade’ conditions, an NAO report found.

In one home, conditions are so poor that one wife revealed that they were given leaflets about dealing with ‘legionnaires disease, asbestos and damp’ when they moved into their new home.

In another example, terrified tenants reported leaking pipes three times before their ceiling eventually collapsed during the middle of the night.

They said it puts huge stress on soldiers and their young families but it has been happening for so many years that families are ‘accepting it and suffering’.

Army wives living in military accommodation across the UK have revealed the 'filthy' conditions they are forced to live in, with one woman in the south east, telling MailOnline her ceiling collapsed (pictured) after reporting a water leak multiple times

Army wives living in military accommodation across the UK have revealed the 'filthy' conditions they are forced to live in, with one woman in the south east, telling MailOnline her ceiling collapsed (pictured) after reporting a water leak multiple times

Army wives living in military accommodation across the UK have revealed the ‘filthy’ conditions they are forced to live in, with one woman in the south east, telling MailOnline her ceiling collapsed (pictured) after reporting a water leak multiple times

The conditions are so poor that one wife, who lived in married quarters for just under two years in Greater London, revealed that they were given leaflets about dealing with 'legionnaires disease, asbestos and damp' when they moved into their new home (pictured)

The conditions are so poor that one wife, who lived in married quarters for just under two years in Greater London, revealed that they were given leaflets about dealing with 'legionnaires disease, asbestos and damp' when they moved into their new home (pictured)

 The conditions are so poor that one wife, who lived in married quarters for just under two years in Greater London, revealed that they were given leaflets about dealing with ‘legionnaires disease, asbestos and damp’ when they moved into their new home (pictured)

One family shared pictures of their property's damage which  has left a gaping five-foot hole in the ceiling (pictured) and said they are still waiting to find out when it will be fixed as its now coming into winter and the heat is escaping

One family shared pictures of their property's damage which  has left a gaping five-foot hole in the ceiling (pictured) and said they are still waiting to find out when it will be fixed as its now coming into winter and the heat is escaping

One family shared pictures of their property’s damage which  has left a gaping five-foot hole in the ceiling (pictured) and said they are still waiting to find out when it will be fixed as its now coming into winter and the heat is escaping

How much funding have the Ministry of Defence committed to improving our brave soldiers’ squalid homes? 

Thousands of our heroes have long documented the unacceptable and squalid conditions their families are forced to live in.

The MoD has approximately 49,500 Service Family Accommodation (SFA) properties in the UK.

As of last year, more than a third of the 80,000 servicemen and women living in subsidised accommodation were living in ‘poorer grade’ conditions, an NAO report found.

Damning figures from that report also showed 2,000 of our brave Armed Forces personnel were living in such poor conditions they were not charged any rent. 

Last summer, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced a £200m boost for armed forces personnel’s homes to give them ‘the standard of living they deserve’. 

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said their investment pledge, which will see 5,000 homes for our heroes modernised, will fund new kitchens, bathrooms and furnishings, as well as re-roofing, plus measures to reduce the risk of mould and damp. 

The MoD also said that £530 million has been invested in improvements to Service Family Accommodation over the last four years. 

 

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These pictures are the latest in the long-running and well documented saga of thousands of British soldiers being forced to live in squalor – with the most recent figures showing more than 2,000 of our Armed Forces personnel were living in such poor conditions they were not charged any rent.  

A National Audit Office survey found that almost half (49 per cent) of those living in single block accommodation were not satisfied with their living conditions after Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced a £200m boost for armed forces personnel’s homes to give them ‘the standard of living they deserve’. 

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said their investment pledge, which will see 5,000 homes for our heroes modernised, will fund new kitchens, bathrooms and furnishings, as well as re-roofing, plus measures to reduce the risk of mould and damp. 

But looking beyond facts and figures, those living in squalor have revealed the daily fears they have to endure living in homes that could feasibly be condemned by housing standards services. 

One army wife, living in the south east, who asked not to be named, told MailOnline they contacted the housing contractor, Amey, about a leak from their water tank multiple times before their ceiling eventually collapsed, leaving a gaping hole.

She said: ‘After nearly five weeks of waiting and four times of hastening a job, to inform them the leak from our water tank was getting worse and being fobbed off each time, our ceiling collapsed.

‘Thank god this happened in the early hours as this would have caused awful injury if one of my family was walking up the stairs. 

‘We have had our water tank replaced but we are still waiting to find out when the five-foot hole in our ceiling will be fixed especially as its now getting colder and the heat is escaping.’ 

Another army wife living in Aldershot said that when they moved into their new home it was clear it had not been cleaned or inspected.

‘The house was filthy, there was thick brown sticky grease covering the kitchen, the bath was black with mould, there was rubbish in the garden and stains [and] dirt on all surfaces,’ she said.

She also revealed that there was a ‘urine stain in the cupboard’ and mould around the bedroom windows which was ‘painted over’ as well as a leak under the kitchen sink, causing a strong smell of mould and damp in the house. 

Approximately 80,000 servicemen and women are living in MoD subsidised such as those above in Beacon Barracks, Stafford [File picture]

Approximately 80,000 servicemen and women are living in MoD subsidised such as those above in Beacon Barracks, Stafford [File picture]

Approximately 80,000 servicemen and women are living in MoD subsidised such as those above in Beacon Barracks, Stafford [File picture]

British military families are provided with subsidised accommodation to live in while on active duty and can expect to pay a few hundred pounds a month for a house and bills, depending on the size, location and condition of the property. Pictured: Service Family Accommodation in Buckinghamshire

British military families are provided with subsidised accommodation to live in while on active duty and can expect to pay a few hundred pounds a month for a house and bills, depending on the size, location and condition of the property. Pictured: Service Family Accommodation in Buckinghamshire

British military families are provided with subsidised accommodation to live in while on active duty and can expect to pay a few hundred pounds a month for a house and bills, depending on the size, location and condition of the property. Pictured: Service Family Accommodation in Buckinghamshire

British military families are provided with subsidised accommodation to live in while on active duty and can expect to pay a few hundred pounds a month for a house and bills, depending on the size, location and condition of the property.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has approximately 49,500 Service Family Accommodation (SFA) properties in the UK, 38,000 of which are leased from Annington Homes Limited (AHL) and the remainder are either MOD owned or leased from others.

In a statement, the MOD said that SFA allocated to Service families in the UK meet the Government Decent Homes Standard as a minimum.

The average annual salary for Privates in the UK armed forces was £20,400, compared with £27,326 for a Lance Corporal, £35,853 for a Sergent and £42,849 for a Captain. 

Despite plans to spend more than £1.5billion on renovation work over the next decade, the National Audit Office warned it could take time before improvements were realised in the short-term due to chronic underfunding. 

Gareth Davies, head of the NAO, told the BBC: ‘Problems with heating and hot water are not conditions that [members of the armed forces] should have to tolerate.

‘MoD needs to get this right if it is to retain service personnel in the long term.’

An MoD spokesperson said earlier this year: ‘Our armed forces personnel are at the heart of everything we do and it is only right they are provided good quality and affordable living accommodation.

‘We have invested £1.2bn over the last decade on construction and upgrades of our accommodation and continue to invest in a range of new-build and renovation projects.’

Another army wife living in said that when they moved into their new home it had not been cleaned (pictured) and they shockingly found a 'urine stain in the cupboard' and mould around the bedroom windows which was 'painted over'

Another army wife living in said that when they moved into their new home it had not been cleaned (pictured) and they shockingly found a 'urine stain in the cupboard' and mould around the bedroom windows which was 'painted over'

Another army wife living in said that when they moved into their new home it had not been cleaned (pictured) and they shockingly found a ‘urine stain in the cupboard’ and mould around the bedroom windows which was ‘painted over’

She said: 'The house was filthy, there was thick brown sticky grease covering the kitchen, the bath was black with mould (pictured), there was rubbish in the garden and stains [and] dirt on all surfaces'

She said: 'The house was filthy, there was thick brown sticky grease covering the kitchen, the bath was black with mould (pictured), there was rubbish in the garden and stains [and] dirt on all surfaces'

She said: ‘The house was filthy, there was thick brown sticky grease covering the kitchen, the bath was black with mould (pictured), there was rubbish in the garden and stains [and] dirt on all surfaces’

A group of wives and partners said they 'are desperately trying to get help' to fix the 'filthy' conditions they are forced to live in

A group of wives and partners said they 'are desperately trying to get help' to fix the 'filthy' conditions they are forced to live in

Pictured: The conditions of the house in Aldershot

Pictured: The conditions of the house in Aldershot

A group of wives and partners said they ‘are desperately trying to get help’ to fix the ‘filthy’ conditions they are forced to live in, but said that many families are scared to speak out as it would put their husband’s jobs at risk. Pictured: The conditions of the house in Aldershot

How are British Army personnel and their families housed?

On the British Army’s website, it states ‘high-quality subsidised accommodation’ is available to all serving personnel and their partners.

British military families are provided with accommodation to live in while on active duty and can expect to pay a few hundred pounds a month for a house and bills, depending on the size, location and condition of the property.

They are ‘offered’ homes by an agency, usually within a 10-mile radius of their duty station, and are given 15 working days to accept or reject. 

Families are ‘encouraged’ to accept their second offers unless there are ‘exceptional personal reasons’.

Amey, an infrastructure and engineering company, became the contracted provider of Service Family Accommodation (SFA) for army families across the UK in 2018.

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Another army wife, who lived in married quarters for just under two years in Greater London, said the issues stem from the contractor, Amey, who she claims ‘do as little as possible to maximise profit’.

Amey, an infrastructure and engineering company, became the contracted provider of Service Family Accommodation (SFA) for army families across the UK in 2018. 

She explained: ‘As we only have a licence to occupy we have no rights as a tenant like any person renting in a civilian setting would have. 

‘We even got leaflets about dealing with legionnaires disease, asbestos and damp in our properties on [move] in. In this day and age it is far from acceptable!’

In one house that she was allocated there was a gas leak in the property that they were left to get fixed themselves.

She also claimed that the house was ‘riddled with damp’ and they couldn’t walk on the carpets in their socks as their feet would get wet. 

‘In the morning I had to use a window vac to remove the moisture from the inside which was running down the glass,’ she said.

‘After four months, lots of stress and complaining as high as I could the property was assessed and subsequently condemned. 

‘We were then moved and the damage done to our goods Amey took no responsibility for. 

‘We had thousands of pounds worth of damage due to damp.’

After her ‘awful’ experience with military housing, she and her husband eventually purchased their own property.

She added: ‘Over the years the Ministry of Defence have spent millions on the upkeep of the properties we have to live in but are actually getting very little in return. 

‘The contractual stats look good, but they are far from the live experience service personnel have to endure.’

During her time in military accomodation she claimed she witnessed ‘bad practice, cost cutting… and [families] being treated like we were second class citizens.’ 

She claimed that Amey are taking advantage of the terms of their contract with the Ministry of Defence, and ‘rely on repeat visits to charge more and hide behind the term “fit for purpose”.’ 

She also claimed that the house was 'riddled with damp' and they couldn't walk on the carpets in their socks as their feet would get wet, and when they moved out the damp had caused 'thousands of pounds worth of damage' to their goods

She also claimed that the house was 'riddled with damp' and they couldn't walk on the carpets in their socks as their feet would get wet, and when they moved out the damp had caused 'thousands of pounds worth of damage' to their goods

She also claimed that the house was ‘riddled with damp’ and they couldn’t walk on the carpets in their socks as their feet would get wet, and when they moved out the damp had caused ‘thousands of pounds worth of damage’ to their goods

She said the issues stem from the contractor, Amey, who she claims 'do as little as possible to maximise profit' and are taking advantage of the terms of their contract with the Ministry of Defence. Pictured: Mould in the house in Greater London

She said the issues stem from the contractor, Amey, who she claims 'do as little as possible to maximise profit' and are taking advantage of the terms of their contract with the Ministry of Defence. Pictured: Mould in the house in Greater London

She said the issues stem from the contractor, Amey, who she claims ‘do as little as possible to maximise profit’ and are taking advantage of the terms of their contract with the Ministry of Defence. Pictured: Mould in the house in Greater London

A seperate family, also living in the south east reported that mould in the house was just 'painted over' and said they are not expecting 'luxury' in military housing, just a 'livable, clean house' but feel under pressure to accept the conditions when they move in as a van is outside with their belongings

A seperate family, also living in the south east reported that mould in the house was just 'painted over' and said they are not expecting 'luxury' in military housing, just a 'livable, clean house' but feel under pressure to accept the conditions when they move in as a van is outside with their belongings

A seperate family, also living in the south east reported that mould in the house was just ‘painted over’ and said they are not expecting ‘luxury’ in military housing, just a ‘livable, clean house’ but feel under pressure to accept the conditions when they move in as a van is outside with their belongings

A separate family, also living in the south east said they have also been met with ‘shocking’ conditions on move-in day but feel under pressure to accept the property as a moving van is outside with their belongings. 

She said: ‘The last two [houses] were absolutely shocking on [move] in. It’s the new standard for us families to walk into a dirty house.

‘It puts stress on the whole family as we have to accept a filthy house while the removals are on the door step. Instead of unpacking we are left to do a deep clean.’

She also reported that mould in the house was just ‘painted over’ and said they are not expecting ‘luxury’ in military housing, just a ‘livable, clean house’.

The army wife living in Aldershot also expressed similar treatment around move-in day, claiming that the housing officer would rush through the house inspection so families don’t get a chance to take in the state of the hosue.

Once the keys have been handed over and you’ve accepted the house, you cannot argue with the condition, she said.

‘They tell you what you want to hear on move in, that they’ll get the issues sorted so you accept the house thinking “it’s fine, they’ve raised a job to sort it” then email you a couple weeks later and say nothing can be done about it. Its appalling,’ she said.  

Another tenant in the south east lived in a house for four years that was eventually deemed not ‘fit for purpose’. The issues included ‘severe black mould’ and a leaky roof.

They were moved out and the housing officer reassured them that the issues would be fixed before another family was moved in. However, after the move they found out that the problems were not fixed before the next tenant was moved in.

Another tenant in the south east lived in a house for four years that was eventually deemed not 'fit for purpose'. The issues included 'severe black mould' and a leaky roof

Another tenant in the south east lived in a house for four years that was eventually deemed not 'fit for purpose'. The issues included 'severe black mould' and a leaky roof

Another tenant in the south east lived in a house for four years that was eventually deemed not ‘fit for purpose’. The issues included ‘severe black mould’ and a leaky roof

They were moved out and the housing officer reassured them that the issues would be fixed before another family was moved in, however, they have since found out that the problems were not fixed before the next tenant was moved in

They were moved out and the housing officer reassured them that the issues would be fixed before another family was moved in, however, they have since found out that the problems were not fixed before the next tenant was moved in

They were moved out and the housing officer reassured them that the issues would be fixed before another family was moved in, however, they have since found out that the problems were not fixed before the next tenant was moved in

They said: ‘We have since spoke to the current occupiers who informed us the problems weren’t corrected before they moved in and are currently living in the same conditions we were with severe black mould and water leaking into the property.

‘[They] are having to start the whole process again: reporting and raising jobs, getting the housing officer out and asking for external surveyors etc. Even though the housing officer and Amey are fully aware of the problems.’ 

One army wife, who has lived in military housing around Kent, said that she has three out of the five houses they’ve lived in have been dirty or had mould issues, and has experienced ‘awful’ treatment from Amey and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation. 

She said: ‘We go through their complaint systems over and over again but ultimately nothing ever changes, they always say that meeting service family’s needs is their number one priority but from the inside its not what we are seeing or feeling.

‘The stress it puts on us as a couple and families is huge and it’s been happening for so many years that families are accepting it and suffering.’ 

In a group statement the army wives and partners said: ‘Housing is a big issue within the services, it’s been raised many times however nothing much has changed in the past 10 years and families are desperately trying to get help.

‘We are aware that Amey will probably say that they are trying their best to help us all but as you will see from the issues, a lot of serving families are feeling deflated, let down, stressed and being treated like they do not matter or deserve a decent standard of living.

‘As a community we are asking where all of the funding is going for housing as from our point of view it is not being spent on improving our living conditions, also, when will the government start to listen and support serving personnel like they claim they do?’ 

One army wife, who has lived in military housing around Kent, said that she has three out of the five houses they've lived in have been dirty or had mould issues (pictured), and has experienced 'awful' treatment from Amey and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation

One army wife, who has lived in military housing around Kent, said that she has three out of the five houses they've lived in have been dirty or had mould issues (pictured), and has experienced 'awful' treatment from Amey and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation

One army wife, who has lived in military housing around Kent, said that she has three out of the five houses they’ve lived in have been dirty or had mould issues (pictured), and has experienced ‘awful’ treatment from Amey and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation

She said the housing conditions put huge stress on soldiers and their young families but it has been happening for so many years that families are 'accepting it and suffering'

She said the housing conditions put huge stress on soldiers and their young families but it has been happening for so many years that families are 'accepting it and suffering'

She said the housing conditions put huge stress on soldiers and their young families but it has been happening for so many years that families are ‘accepting it and suffering’

In a statement to MailOnline, an Amey spokesperson said: ‘We recognise the work we carry out on the military estate is incredibly important and we urge anyone who has a concern about maintenance or the move-in standard of a property to contact our customer centre immediately.

‘Since taking over the contract in 2018 Amey has continued to exceed contractual requirements in relation to the move-in and out process, and have a customer service team dedicated to supporting residents, tracking and improving performance.

‘There have been significant strides made over the last few years in damp and mould prevention. We recognise there is still more to be done and are committed to helping tackle this issue.’

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: ‘Providing good-quality accommodation is a top priority for the Ministry of Defence and we regret that service personnel and their families sometimes experience issues with their housing. 

‘We continue to invest in improving the quality of our homes, with £160m invested in 2020/21 and a further £188m planned for this year. In addition, we continue to work closely with our contractors to improve these services.’ 

The Ministry of Defence has approximately 49,500 Service Family Accommodation properties in the UK, 38,000 of which are leased from Annington Homes Limited and the remainder are either MOD owned or leased from others.

Source: Daily Mail UK

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