The information below is provided to assist service members in researching their off-base housing options; however, all service members are required to report to the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Housing Services Office before signing any lease or committing to any property under the Rental Partnership Program.
WHAT IS RPP?
The Rental Partnership Program helps JBLM single and married service members and their families find affordable, off-base housing. The intent is to help ease the financial stress of PCS moves and other major transitions by encouraging landlords to provide a 5 percent or more discount on monthly rent, waive security/rent deposits and waive fees for credit checks. Landlords also agree that the units will be inspected by the JBLM HSO to ensure they meet acceptable standards. In return, the landlord reaps the benefits of the RPP. Most importantly to the landlord, the service member agrees to pay rent by military allotment. This greatly reduces the landlord’s risk of receiving late payments and/or losing rental income. The landlord also receives free advertising leading to increased revenue and lower vacancy rates. This program encourages landlords to take advantage of the unique benefits of working with the military and to pass the savings on to military families.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR RPP?
All active-duty service members assigned to JBLM, married and single, who are in receipt of Basic Allowance for Housing, may apply for the program.
HOW DO I ENROLL INTO THE PROGRAM?
Service Members will select a property from the list of participating RPP properties and submit their required documents to the property manager. The property manager will email the Service Member's application packet to the HSO and will then schedule the Service Member an appointment for their enrollment briefing which will be conducted over the telephone. When all actions and final counseling has been completed, qualified Service Members will receive an Eligibility Certificate which will be emailed to the Property Manager as well. The Service Member will then sign their lease and receive an email with step-by-step guidance on how to complete set up of their allotment.
TO QUALIFY FOR RPP: You must submit a copy of your orders assigning you to JBLM (if within 30 days of arrival), a current copy of your ERB/ORB/SURF and your most recent end-of-month LES.
Questions pertaining to the RPP may be directed to the Housing Services Office at 253-967-3581.
WHAT PROPERTIES ARE PARTICIPATING IN THE PROGRAM?
To obtain an updated list of participating properties, click HERE.
WHO CAN I CONTACT FOR ASSISTANCE?
Questions pertaining to the RPP may be directed to the Housing Services Office at 253-967-3581. Although we would like to answer every call immediately, due to high customer volume, you may be asked to leave a voicemail. Please leave your name along with the best number and time to reach you, and our staff will return your call as soon as possible. You may also email email@example.com for a more timely response.
OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
MUST THE SERVICE MEMBER SIGN A LEASE?
Lease/rental agreements in the RPP shall be for 6 or 12-month periods, at the option of the service member. After the initial lease/rental period, a lease may be renewed at the request of a service member so long as the service member complies with the terms of the RPP and is still qualified.
WHY MUST A BILL-PAYING SERVICE COMPANY LIKE FIRSTNET BE USED?
Department of Defense regulations prohibit making allotments payable to individual persons such as landlords. The incentive for a landlord to give service members the benefits of the RPP is the guarantee of regular timely rent payments. Please carefully read FirstNet's contract to ensure you agree with the terms. For assistance or clarification in understanding the terms, please contact a RPP representative for an explanation.
HOW DOES THE SERVICE MEMBER PAY RENT?
The service member's allotment is initiated through the HSO. The allotment is payable to the bill paying service company, FirstNet. FirstNet receives the proceeds of the allotment and electronically transfers the rent to the landlord on the first day of each month. FirstNet charges a $3 fee per month for the allotment processing service, which is added to the allotment. The service member must pay the first month's rent or any rent due directly to the landlord with a cashier's check, money order or certified check until the allotment is effective.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE LEASE EXPIRES?
When the initial term of the lease has expired, the service member may extend participation in the RPP by execution of a new lease. When a new lease is negotiated, rent may be increased with proper notice. The service member will be required to consult with their landlord or the HSO for instructions on renewal procedures.
HOW ARE ALLOTMENTS STOPPED?
The terms of the program require the service member to keep the allotment in effect until properly cleared from RPP. The stop allotment will be processed through the HSO and amounts owed will be noted on the Move-Out Clearance Form. If it is too late to stop the allotment prior to the end of the month, the RPP representative will notify FirstNet not to send any further money to the landlord. FirstNet will hold these funds on deposit pending notification by the service member of the refund instructions. If the service member still owes the landlord money for damages or any other unpaid balances, assuming there is no dispute as to the balance owed, the allotment will not be stopped until the balance is paid or the service member provides the HSO with a written payment arrangement that has been approved by the landlord for clearance purposes. FirstNet provides monthly management reports to the landlord and HSO. This helps the RPP representative resolve rent disputes and track if the rental allotment has been stopped or interrupted.
HOW WILL DISPUTES BETWEEN SERVICE MEMBERS AND LANDLORDS BE RESOLVED?
In the event payment arrangements cannot be agreed upon and/or a landlord-tenant dispute occurs, the HSO will be available to mediate. Landlords are advised that RPP is not the guarantor of rent or other money owed and the government will not act as a collection agent on the landlord’s behalf. If a service member chooses to unduly stop their allotment on their own accord, the RPP manager will advise the service member of potential consequences, then notify the service member’s chain of command to request further action, if needed. If parties are unable to reach an agreement, the final arbiter of such disputes is the civil court system. Once a legal civil judgment is obtained, the landlord may apply for an involuntary allotment from the service member’s military pay.
HOW DOES THE PROGRAM AFFECT THE SERVICE MEMBER’S CURRENT LEASE (NON RPP)?
If a service member is an existing lease with a property that is subsequently approved for RPP and wishes to participate in the program, it is at the landlord’s discretion whether the service member may immediately participate in the program; however, the landlord agrees that the service member may participate in RPP after the existing lease expires. The service member would qualify for the RPP through the HSO and then enter into a lease under the RPP. Once the appropriate paperwork has been completed, the landlord will refund the security deposit within 14 days of the allotment taking effect. The security deposit refund may not be used for the last month’s rent under the RPP or the final month on an existing lease.
CAN AN APARTMENT COMPLEX REFUSE TO RENT TO CERTAIN RANKS?
No, participating companies must agree to rent to any rank authorized by the RPP.
IS A DEPOSIT REQUIRED?
Other than a pet deposit and nonrefundable cleaning fee, which may be required, deposits are not required under the program.
IS AN APPLICATION/ADMINISTRATIVE FEE REQUIRED?
No application/administrative fee is required under this program. Since the rent will be paid by allotment and the service member receives a housing allowance, poor credit history is usually not a factor in determining eligibility. However, a Service Members or their dependents may be refused for poor rental history or a criminal record on any of the occupants to be residing in the rental unit on a case-by-case basis.
IS A PET DEPOSIT REQUIRED?
The individual landlord's or management company’s rules apply.
WHAT IF THE SERVICE MEMBER DISAGREES ABOUT THE CONDITION OF AN APARTMENT ON MOVE IN OR DAMAGES ON MOVE OUT?
Generally, the property will be inspected by the tenant and landlord. If there are any issues, a RPP representative will inspect at the request of either party. All damages, repair requirements, and the overall condition of the unit will be noted on the Move-in Condition Report. A copy of the Move-in Condition Report will be retained at the HSO. Upon vacating the unit, the tenant and landlord should conduct a joint move-out inspection. The landlord is required to provide the tenant with a copy of the signed Move-Out Inspection Report. The service member is responsible for damages verified at the move-out inspection. Please refer to the question above, “How will disputes between service members and landlords be resolved?” for additional information referencing disputes.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR LANDLORDS THAT WOULD LIKE TO PARTICIPATE IN RPP?
Landlords who participate in RPP are required to waive security deposits, credit check fees and administrative fees and offer a minimum discount of 5% from market rates to all service members participating in RPP. Landlords also agree to have their lease reviewed by the HSO and a representative number of units inspected by HSO to ensure they meet acceptable standards. In return, landlords receive direct referrals and free advertising from the HSO which can lead to lower vacancy rates and increased rent revenue. Service members who participate in the program are also required to pay their rent by payroll deduction, making for a more dependable cash flow and minimizing late payments, lost checks and the administrative burden of processing rental payments. Should issues arise during the term of the lease, landlords also have the HSO as a resource to mediate landlord-tenant complaints and HSO can serve as a liaison for issues that call for the Chain of Commands attention. HSO does require participating service members to complete a formal clearance process which involves verifying that all charges associated with the lease have been paid in full or acceptable payment arrangements have been made prior to facilitating cancellation of the service member’s allotment. Participation in RPP is voluntary on the part of all parties and landlords are still required to perform all property manager functions. While HSO does assist service members with setting up and cancelling rent allotments, HSO does not perform any aspect of property management, nor does it act as a collection agency.
WHAT IS THE ENROLLMENT PROCESS FOR LANDLORDS?
Landlords interested in participating in RPP may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following in the subject line of the email “Request RPP Property Manager Application”. HSO will email and application packet and further information regarding program requirements. Once required documents are submitted to HSO and an approved lease has been submitted, a property inspection and in-person briefing will be scheduled.
For more information on Housing at JBLM, visit the following webpages: