Page last updated at 18:41 GMT, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 19:41 UK

Forces housing: Your experiences

The Army Families Federation, a support group for army families, says complaints about accommodation have risen by 50 per cent over the last three years. They say there are now increasing worries about vandalism and security, since a private company took over the maintenance contract.
Roy who serves in the Navy sent in this picture of the mildew around his kitchen sink
Roy who serves in the Navy sent in this picture of the mildew around his kitchen sink

According to their research almost 60 per cent of all complaints from the UK are about accommodation - up from 39 per cent three years ago. The findings come a year after BBC News discovered almost half of the five billion pounds earmarked by the Government for upgrading army homes was to be spent on renting back houses which were previously sold off by the military.

Here serving and former service families describe some of the housing they have lived in.

GOOD EXPERIENCE

I used to live in an army house and it couldn't have been nicer! Not long after moving in I got a new kitchen. A home is what you make it. Yes, army curtains are terrible but it depends on how house proud you are and what you do to make it homely. Not all married quarters are horrible there are a lot of very nice houses and estates!
Jenna, Edinburgh

I'm currently serving in the Army and have lived in five different Army quarters. I have had no problems with any of the houses I've lived in. It really annoys me to hear people say how bad the housing is. There is never any mention of the new housing estates that are being built. I can appreciate that some of the houses do need work, but the majority of the houses are fine.
Emma, York

Having lived in military accommodation, single and married, for the past 20 years I have only had reason to complain a maximum of approximately five times in all this time. The standards are above average overall and my family do enjoy the safety and overall service we get from the housing association.
Reid, Germany

Timothy Tucker took this picture of his accommodation in Wales
Timothy Tucker took this picture of his accommodation in Wales

Absolute rubbish. I have been in the Army for five years and can confirm that the conditions featured in the news are completely fictitious. The conditions are immaculate, and anything less than this is down to the individual occupying the property. There is a comprehensive 24 hour hotline for emergency repairs and any non-urgent repairs are dealt with in a timely manner.
Timothy, St Athan, South Wales

BAD EXPERIENCE
I live in an army quarter and I haven't had any gas since Friday. They are due to come out today to have a look (I have three children under seven) I have also had so many problems with my house and the area is just so unwelcoming that I don't feel happy. I have asked to move and the Army housing have said NO!!! They don't have enough houses. Even my children don't like like it. I feel like I am stuck somewhere I really don't like. Getting even more depressed by the day, and oh yeah I'm cold today (no heating).
Mrs B, Deepcut, Surrey UK

Moved into our current house and it was in a very poor state. Leaking toilet, thick black pet hair on the carpets and a filthy kitchen. We filled three sides of A4 paper with complaints. Large patches of mould started appearing in our bedroom. When we phoned Modern Housing we were told that they don't normally come out to look at mould!! We insisted due to the fact that I am pregnant and they assured us someone would come out to examine it. That was 4 months ago and we've heard nothing.

Amanda says nothing has been done about the mould in their accommodation
Amanda says nothing has been done about the mould in their house

My husband cleaned up the mould but its started coming back. The estate on which we live is in a poor state of repair with vandalism and dog fouling being a regular problem. Again, no one seems to be interested. This is a joke and is no way to treat the families of men and women willing to give their lives for their country.
Amanda, Fleet, Hampshire

After you showed the appalling state of forces accommodation last year we were promised that by the summer we would have new windows, doors, garage doors, houses to be painted, new heating, new curtains and more. We live in one of the windiest places in the UK and the windows don't shut properly and the heating systems kept breaking down. We have had new heating put in about three weeks ago, it has broken down twice already. So no heating or hot water for two weekends now. My husband has just under two years to do and I cant wait for him to get out. I have had enough of poor housing and excuses.
Joan, UK

I have just left the RAF after 28 years and one of the significant drivers was the appalling condition of my senior officer's quarter. We had fungus growing on the ceiling, vermin infestation and a total lack of support from MHS for over two years. At my "march out" the DHE changed the locks in front of me, as if I would want to enter this hovel after finally escaping such disgusting conditions.
Tony, Reading

My husband and I are currently living in army married quarters in Tern Hill, he is currently serving on operation out in Afghanistan. I moved in to the property on my own a year ago as my husband was on a promotional course. Straight away I saw there was missing carpet on the stairs and stains all over the carpets. Days passed and I was having to put pans in my bedroom to catch the water coming through the ceiling as there was a hole in the roof. There was no lock on my back door, the cooker was thick with grease, iron prints on the carpets, burst pipe under the sink ... the list is endless.

Claire sent in this picture of her army married quarters
Claire sent in this picture of her army married quarters

To make things worse whilst vacuuming the top of the stairs I tripped on carpet that was sticking up and began to fall down the stairs. As I grabbed the banister it ripped away from the wall and I landed at the bottom unconscious with the Hoover on top of me. I am very disappointed with the MOD. When they finally came out, they came with bottles of wine apologising and agreed the property was not up to standard for an occupant to move in. Only then did they begin to fix all these problems.
Claire, Tern Hill, Shropshire.

MIXED EXPERIENCE
I served for ten years and lived all over the world during that time as a single soldier. I lived in all sorts of accommodation and found it varied from place to place. In Northern Ireland we were stacked five high on bunk beds with a poncho over the top one, because the gym roof was leaking and there were eighty of us squeezed in there. With two showers, two bogs, and four sinks and people coming and going 24/7. It was interesting, but that's what the army life is about. I always said I'd never put a family through the whole army way of life, it's tough and it ain't for the faint hearted. In the Falklands our accommodation was a maze of porter cabins like a lunar moon base stretched over a two mile strip, where you didn't need to go outside to get from A-B. Only problem was that the windows kept getting smashed letting the arctic temperatures in. Pretty chilly I can tell you, especially when you've had a skin full. But I've had some very nice digs so I'm not complaining.
Carl, Eastbourne, England

I was in the Army for 20 years, 15 of which as a married man. While there is no excuse for mould and plaster falling down, the state of the bath, shower and cookers as quoted in your report is down to the individual. When handing over a quarter all these things are checked and when taking over a quarter you can refuse to accept it. I know that in my time there is no way I would let the bath, shower, sink or cooker get into that state, it would a matter of hygiene and pride.
Chris, Preston

I do feel sorry for these families, But I served for 13 years and had to clean my quarters till it was sparkling and clean my cooker. If you didn't clean it, you got charged.
David Colligan

I would like to know why people are complaining about the state of their Army accommodation when a lot of the issues are due to cleanliness which they themselves can clean up. Limescale, dirty plugs, broken tiles, damp, fly tipping and litter are all due to personal responsibility and pride in your own living standards. People who own their own homes have to deal with these problems all the time and do not have a housing federation to help them clean up after themselves!
Gary, Weston Super Mare




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