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Road to housing privatization takes major step forward

Los Angeles Air Force Base -- The Air Force has recently announced that Actus Lend Lease has been selected as the highest ranked offeror for the Tri-Group military family housing privatization project.
Actus Lend Lease and the Air Force will form a Limited Liability Company to modernize Military Family Housing at Los Angeles and Peterson Air Force Bases, as well as construct family housing at Schriever AFB. An Actus Lend Lease affiliate will be the managing partner responsible for the $342 million effort that will renovate 579 existing homes and construct 977 new homes within the 6-year development period. 

Under housing privatization, the Air Force provides a 50-year lease of the property and conveys the existing infrastructure to a private developer. The developer then maintains, renovates and constructs communities where military families can choose to live. Military families will enjoy more amenities than typically provided in military family housing. 

"Through this project, we are able to provide better homes to our military families at a much quicker pace than traditional military construction would allow and at a much lower up-front cost," said Air Force Space Command's Command Chief Master Sgt. Michael Sullivan. 

Through privatization, Los Angeles AFB is expected to receive upgrades to 560 units within the first six years of privatization. It is currently planned that all housing, with the exception of the historical housing, will be demolished and completely re-built. In addition to housing, Actus plans to build a new housing office and resident community center in Pacific Heights, mini-storage units for resident use, free neighborhood-wide wireless Internet access, new and upgraded recreation areas and neighborhood trail systems. 

Most bases within the Air Force and Air Force Space Command are transitioning to privatized housing. On-base privatized housing has many similarities to renting off-base housing. In both cases, military members receive Basic Allowance for Housing based on their rank and qualifying dependents. A lease for off-base or privatized housing is much the same as both are legally binding contracts between a tenant and a landlord. They grant the tenant the right to inhabit the landlord's property and define the tenant's basic responsibilities such as rent and occupancy length. They also establish owner responsibilities that are above the minimums established by state and local laws and protect tenant's rights that are not otherwise specified by law. 

The privatized housing lease is an enhancement of the standard off-base lease as the Air Force has worked with the developer to craft specific language to make the conditions more favorable to the military tenant. These leases limit rent to not more than a military member's BAH, include a standard military clause and limit the amount and types of security deposits. Since rent is based on the senior military member's accompanied BAH rate, rent cannot be inflated at a higher rate than the housing allowance. Privatized housing rent will initially include all utilities. Once the developer installs utility meters on the electrical and natural gas services to the houses, the rent will be reduced to allow for a utility allowance enabling residents to pay for their utilities with little to no out-of-pocket expense. 

Transition from military family housing to privatized housing is expected to be completed this summer with the final closing and transfer date July 1. Beginning in April, Town Hall meetings will be publicized giving interested families the opportunity to discuss details with the base housing office and Actus Lend Lease.