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48th FW housing office reduces hassle for newcomers

A U.S. Air Force Airman from the 48th Fighter Wing holds the keys to a new house near Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 13, 2020. The 48th FW housing office introduced the Rental Partnership Program in Sept. 2020, an avenue to ease the stress of house hunting for members assigned to RAF Lakenheath, RAF Mildenhall and RAF Feltwell. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessi Monte)

A U.S. Air Force Airman from the 48th Fighter Wing holds the keys to a new house near Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 13, 2020. The 48th FW housing office introduced the Rental Partnership Program in Sept. 2020, an avenue to ease the stress of house hunting for members assigned to RAF Lakenheath, RAF Mildenhall and RAF Feltwell. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessi Monte)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England --

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Taking care of the Airmen and their families stationed at RAF Lakenheath is one of the 48th Fighter Wing’s top priorities, and it takes a collective effort to make sure the transition is as smooth as possible for newcomers.

Finding a place to call home when an Airman arrives at a new duty station can be a difficult process, thus the 48th FW housing office developed the Rental Partnership Program, an avenue to ease the stress of house hunting for members assigned to RAF Lakenheath, RAF Mildenhall and RAF Feltwell.

“Moving can be a very stressful life event,” said Beverly Uter, 48th Fighter Wing housing office referral inspector and the RPP program manager. “This program seeks to simplify the house-hunting process and establish the foundation of an individual’s tour, thus allowing them to focus on their professional readiness.”

The program provides newcomers with a list of rental properties that have already been pre-inspected and approved by the housing office, aiming to alleviate the occurrence of some of the common problems new Airmen and their families can encounter when trying to find a new home. For example, if a property were to fail the safety inspection, it could take a week or more for the landlord or leasing agency to remedy the failure, depending on the seriousness of the issue. The house would then have to be re-inspected. With the RPP, the houses are already pre-inspected, pre-approved and ready for occupancy, saving valuable time and effort for everyone involved.

Newcomers can begin house hunting by watching virtual house tours before they arrive on station, or while they are in their current mandatory COVID-19 quarantine period. These videos allow members an opportunity to see properties they are interested in.

This prevents the stress of ‘bidding wars,’ as once a member has expressed interest in a property, it is taken out of the available listings. Landlords also set an agreed-upon rental amount before the listing goes live, so there are no surprises at lease signing.

“The RPP Program allows the 48th Fighter Wing to anticipate the unique challenges newcomers face as they arrive and get acclimated to a new culture,” Uter said. “Identifying this unique challenge is one of the keys to the success of this program. Every aspect of the move is considered, in order to assist the settlement of future Airmen and their families coming to RAF Lakenheath.”

Bethany Glass, a military spouse at RAF Mildenhall, used the program when it was still in its infancy, and allowed her family to secure a home while they were in quarantine.

“I would tell anyone coming to this area to reach out to the housing office and see what options they have,” said Glass. “We found a house that checked off a lot of our boxes and that's hard to do sometimes, especially when you are in a new country for the first time.”

Properties can be found on www.HOMES.MIL. Once a property has been found, newcomers can send an email to the RPP organizational box at 48ces.cei.rpp@us.af.mil and they will receive assistance and guidance through the rest of the process.

For more information on the Rental Partnership Program at the 48th Fighter Wing, go to: https://youtu.be/clu3dTVvSk0?list=PLmDqkTZM6oRHx2oVqKXRPJ5YDbNeb687O