​Leaving the military takes research and planning. There is a lot to sort in a relatively short space of time. Housing and employment will be your key priorities.

Social housing

Processes are very different in civvy street. Waiting lists for social housing are very long.


Housing in Northamptonshire is managed through your unitary council. North Northamptonshire Council covers Corby, East Northamptonshire, Kettering and Wellingborough and West Northamptonshire Council covers Daventry, Northampton and South Northamptonshire. You can use the mapping tool to add layers including boundary lines to see which district or borough council covers your area.

Once you have established the correct council for your area you can visit their individual websites:

Social housing and the Covenant


The Covenant doesn't give service leavers priority on waiting lists. However, it does remove the local connection criteria for 5 years after leaving service. This means you can apply to any housing authority and be on the list in more than one area. 

Despite this, families can still find themselves without anywhere to live as there is simply not enough social housing in the county.

As each local authority has signed the Covenant, they have all written specific terms into their housing policy that adhere to the Allocation of Housing (Qualification Criteria for Armed Forces) (England) Regulations 2012. This means that local connection criteria cannot be applied to the following Armed Forces personnel:

  1. Those who are currently serving in the regular forces or who were serving in the regular forces at any time in the five years preceding their application for an allocation of social housing.
  2. Bereaved spouses or civil partners of those serving in the regular forces where:
    i.The bereaved spouse or civil partner has recently ceased, or will cease to be entitled, to reside in Ministry of Defence accommodation following the death of their service spouse or civil partner.
    ii.The death was wholly or partly attributable to their service.
  3. Existing or former members of the reserve forces who are suffering from a serious injury, illness, or disability which is wholly or partly attributable to their service.

Under the new Homeless Reduction Act the Secretary of Defence has a duty to refer to a local housing authority if Armed Forces personnel are at risk of homelessness. They should provide notice of cessation 6 months (equivalent to an eviction notice) prior to leaving. 

This means you will be able to apply for social housing a lot sooner and may prevent you from being added to the homeless register.

Buying a house


Advice on how to buy a house while you are still serving can be found on the Joint Services Housing advice office (JSHAO) website.

Help to Buy Schemes can help you get on the property ladder:

Shared Ownership

Shared Ownership is another option to help towards home ownership. This is where you own a certain share of the property and the rest is owned by a housing association to whom you pay a small amount of rent too.

You can apply for shared ownership if you have a household income of less than £80,000 per year (£90,000 in London).

You need to demonstrate that you can't afford to buy a home on the open market, have a good credit rating and having enough savings to cover the legal costs of buying a home and the deposit.

Where a shared ownership home has been provided through government funding priority must go to serving military personnel and former members of the British Armed Forces discharged in the last two years.

Ministry of Defence personnel will be prioritised for shared ownership schemes where:

  • They have completed their basic (phase one) training and they are one of the following:
    • Regular service personnel (including Navy, Army and Air Force)
    • Clinical staff (with the exception of doctors and dentists)
    • Ministry of Defence Police Officers
    • Uniformed staff in the Defence Fire Service
  • They are ex-regular service personnel who have served in the Armed Forces for a minimum of six years, and can produce a Discharge Certificate (or similar documentation) as proof, where they apply within two years (24 months) of the date of discharge from service.
  • They are the surviving partners of regular service personnel who have died in service, where they apply within two years (24 months) of the date of being bereaved.

For more information and advice visit Shared Ownership Shop.

Renting a house

Find houses you can rent privately using websites like Zoopla or Rightmove.

Landlords can charge the market value of the house, some areas of the county will be more expensive than others. Consider looking at a wider area when looking at where you'd like to rent.

If you are on a low income you may be able to claim housing benefit to help you financially. Your borough council or citizen's advice bureau can assist with advice on what you might be entitled to.

Things to consider before renting a house

  1. ​Ask to view the house before you agree to rent it.
  2. Find out what the initial fees are (deposit, administrative fees, etc.).
  3. Make time to visit the area properly and investigate the local amenities such as schools and their Ofsted reports. Be aware that some schools are oversubscribed, so moving into the catchment area will not necessarily grant your child a place at that school.
  4. Rural communities can be more isolated, so think about bus routes and public transport if you don’t drive.

Renting advice

Find house rental advice on the Council's website.

Joint Services Housing advice office (JSHAO) also have advice on how to rent a house whilst you are still serving.

Other rental schemes such as Rent Plus provide specific rental contracts that allow you to buy at the 5 year, 10 year and 15 year point and support you into home ownership through advice and guidance.