DHE Problems

I currently live in the South East of England in a married quarter which can best be described as 'run-down'. One of my colleagues went to march out of their MSQ today, to be met by a new Estate Manager, who proceeded to say that the DHE has increased the standards and must start charging for any small damage, discrepancy etc. Bearing in mind that there has been no full time estate warden on site for a long time, the estate is in bad order. The houses are small with old carpets, scruffy paintwork, dirty exteriors and MHS seem to dislike coming to the area.

The soldier involved said that the estate warden complained that the cooker was dirty (as it had 1 small mark on the inside) and that there was a scratch on the 15 year old aluminium kitchen. He wanted to charge £80 to clean the cooker, for god's sake!! This is all well and good but I know for a fact that the family spent a week cleaning the quarter and 2 days on the cooker itself! The house was immaculate, in complete contrast to when they first moved in.

Who do the DHE think they are - we are over a barrel and cannot do a thing about it. If we do not accept a quarter because of its bad state, we get another chance and are then refused a quarter. If we refuse to pay any 'cleaning charges', we are disciplined and have to pay anyway.

This is also compounded by the fact that the local DHE office hire a cleaning company (of Poles and Portugese) to clean the quarters before they allocate them anyway. It just seems that they are on a quest for us to pay for all of their bad management - or even worse to boost their pockets by charging us for something which has already been done.

What recourse do we have - Illegal immigrants have more rights than Military personnel.
These people trade on the fact that service personnel never stand their ground and complain about poor and shabby practice. A formal complaint has been known to stop them in their tracks. I suggest your colleague photographs everything as evidence. Good practice to do it on moving in too!


Lifelong soldier,

I am on the same estate as yourself. I spoke to the female soldier earlier. A good friend.

I am not sure whether this is a local problem or if this problem occurs in other DHE areas. Will be interesting to see what response if any we get from other members in different locations.

I too am due to move soon and I am not looking forward to the March Out. It would appear that no matter what standard you clean your quarter to, you will be getting billed for something. To that end, I intend to contact them and ask for a list of their billing charges. They can not simply pluck figures out of the air and expect us to pay them.

Furthermore, I believe they did not have the copy of the 14 day fault reports that were submitted after moving in to the qtr. How convenient!! However, my arguement would be that they would have to prove that any item such as scratches etc were not on it to begin with.

The only way forward is for the chain of command at our unit to be informed of this matter and then speak to DHE on our behalf. It is not as if the qtrs were in good condition to begin with.

On March outs, we may need to involve the chain of command. My own suggestion would be for the unit QM or rep to be present and defend the soldier, when warranted, against unfair charges.

This same warden only weeks previously tried to bill someone £15 for a lightbulb!!

While the cynics may say that this should all be in order in the first place in order to avoid charges. Their billing costs are extortionate and I can only presume that the warden is either on comission or DHE at this location are very very short of money.

As far as I know we can claim a maximum of £130 over 2 days for cleaning if the quarter is not up to OUR standard. We should be able to bill them at the same rate that they charge us.

In fact, might get out and set up a cleaning company. At £15 for a lightbulb and £80 for a speck of dirt, it is easy money!!!


War Hero
When taking over a quarter allocated to you make sure you go through it with a fine tooth comb with the estate manager as you call him nowadays in tow and take your time logging every little detail(we had a barrack inventory accountants when I served)Insist on replacing items not up to standards as they will come back to haunt you at marching out time.Take photgraphs and get the estate manager to sign the photo as seen by him on the day it was dated.If they make life hard for you just refuse to take the quarter as you are paying for it and second rate substandard accomodation will not be tolerated by you and your wife/partner.Tom


First - She should ask for the evidence that the DHE has that the marks weren't there when Your mate marched in, along with the costs of the repairs. If She gets no joy inform them that She will be taking the matter to Her C of C. If Her superiors are unco-operative then she should inform both of Her intention to get Her MP involved, and then do so if nothing is forthcoming. Most of all keep a log of all communications and actions.

It is best to take an aggressive stance from the start. Point out all faults when marching in and PHOTOGRAPH them. Have the photographs witnessed by someone who is independent. Insist that there is a record of all faults in the property docket and get a copy of that docket. Throughout the life of Your stay in the accomodation record all communications and visits by the DHE and any damage that occurs, both from Your actions and those of natural wearage.

Whilst I accept that there are some parts that do not pertain to the Forces, there are leaflets that Your local council should hold about the rights of tenants and the responsibilites (and rights) of the landlord/landlords agents.


recently handed over my MQ in Tidworth after occupying it for over 13 years, had to put all walls back to magnolia although quarter is due a total redec, finally got billed over £200 for 2 damaged bedroom doors (holes where kids name plates had been) and £90 for grass to be reseeded.
DE HD are returning to the high standards of cleanliness for move outs.

This new approach has been agreed by all tri services commands as it enables the property to be relet as quick as possible. It also allows the ever decreasing budget to be spent more efficiently as if the FQ is to move out standard at move out then it is very close and therefore 'cheap' and quick to get it ready for move in.

There is no need to take an aggressive stance, but dont be a wet lettuce, as most of what the DE HD staff do is enforce the regulations produced by the MoD, they do not make them up as they go along.

Whilst the council might hold leaflets about tenants i doubt these will be of any use since you are not tenants but licence holders, quite a difference legally.

All the charges passed onto yourselves are based upon the charges that get made to the MOD from MHS for these items. DE HD do not employ any cleaners at all, ALL work is done through MHS.

A good well written complaint to the local Housing Manager is usually enough to get the charges dropped.

DHE went at least 2 years ago they are now DE HD, part of Defence Estates. There are no Estate Manager but Housing Officers.
How many people work at the MHS help desk? Every time I call about work that needs doing, like a massive hole in the ceiling due to a burst pipe in the loft (for over 3 weeks now) I keep getting the same guy who is from liverpool and he keeps forgetting to put the work through and claiming that no call was made to their office, what is going on and when i ask to talk to someone in authority im given some waffle :evil:


MHS = Making Housing Sh1te.

The whole system is a disgrace. I moved into a MSQ in the Bulford area and it was a fecking disgrace but had to take it as I had been in transit for 6 weeks with the family and had 3 seperate removal companys booked for the day.

I can assure you that I will not be paying a penny in bills the day I march out.

Pasty Boy

I am in a new PFI married quarter, owned by one company but managed by another on behalf of the DHE. Unfortunately these houses were build by Barratts and the build standard is the lowest of the low. I dont know who did the handover inspection/snagging list but they were incompetent.

We regularly have problems and hence have to call the management company to get it fixed. They dont seem to realise that both myself and my wife work and so one of us, normally her, has to be at home on a certain day. Sometimes a simple fault takes 3 or 4 visits from their 'tradesmen'.

As this is our first married quarter, I am a little apprhensive on how to handle the move out, hence the advice here is most welcome. What I am not prepared to do however is pay through the nose for minor faults, fair wear and tear etc. If they try it on, my counter will be to present them with a bill from my wife's work at their standard daily charge-out rate (not that sort of service!) for all of the days that she has had to be at home. Should be interesting - wait out until August.
Another point on the matter of 'tradesmen,' You get a letter through the door with a time and date for a gas inspection. You take time off work to be in for the time stated. No one turns up and you call to complain, same liverpool accent informs that a 'tradesmen' did turn up and reported that no one was at the house and that he left a card. A few days later you receive a snot-a-gram about not being there. what's that all about? :x


Lived in many quarters over the years, no bills raised, i did bring up a point with my last DHE bloke that if i was billed for the carpets then i would expect them to be replaced, therefore the carpets i would pay for would be mine to take with me, he didnt have an answer for that one.
Buy your own house and dont bother with the military sytem again it is far easier and you make money out of your property as well, winner.
kennys-go-nad said:
Another point on the matter of 'tradesmen,' You get a letter through the door with a time and date for a gas inspection. You take time off work to be in for the time stated. No one turns up and you call to complain, same liverpool accent informs that a 'tradesmen' did turn up and reported that no one was at the house and that he left a card. A few days later you receive a snot-a-gram about not being there. what's that all about? :x
What's the betting that the tradesman's company submits a bill for the 'wasted visit', as well? MHS take their word for it, send out a snotagram and put it down on their stats as a 'wasted visit' - so the true scale of their incompetence is not revealed. MOD believe it and tell the NAO, Commons Defence Committee and the media that all is well. CGS (now safely toeing the line) repeats on demand and eventually individuals come to believe that they are the only ones this has happened to, and it must just be one of those things.

If you tell a big enough lie, and keep repeating it...


Re Tradesmen.

Spent afternoon in one day waiting on two workmen to appear for different jobs. Workman 1 turns up and carries out work required. No sign of workman 2. Next morning set of for work after having picked up mail from letterbox (all normal), come home at lunch time to find a note from workman no2 saying that he couldn't get access the day before, cheeky git had dated the card as day before as well.

Phoned MHS who got a bit snotty that I wasn't in when workman no2 claimed he turned up. Small flaw in his plan was that I was most definately in as I had another one of their workman present.

No apology, no explanation and can bet a month's wages that workman no2 will get paid for a call out he didnt attend.


kennys-go-nad said:
How many people work at the MHS help desk? Every time I call about work that needs doing, like a massive hole in the ceiling due to a burst pipe in the loft (for over 3 weeks now) I keep getting the same guy who is from liverpool and he keeps forgetting to put the work through and claiming that no call was made to their office, what is going on and when i ask to talk to someone in authority im given some waffle :evil:
Take the name of the person You are calling, the time and date and log every instance of contact. If nothing happens do as the info Hackle linked to and go up their chain of command. If that doesn't work escalate it to Your chain of command and finally inform Your MP.

You could also join BAFF and get their help.
JSP 464 Pt 1 (TSAR) used to allow some leeway on damage in that negligent damage was to be billed for but accidental damage (for example, orange juice being accidentally spilt by a young child), was not to be billed. The revised JSP 464, however, has removed this leeway and now states:

"At Our election You must either make good or instead pay any cost incurred by Us in making good any damage to the Property or its fixtures or fittings caused by either Your negligence or wilful or accidental damage or that of any member of Your household including family pets or any invited visitor or their pets. Damage caused by fair wear and tear and acts of God is excepted".

That said, you do have the opportunity to dispute any bill raised, and there should (although the demise of Accommodation Support Units will inevitably mean this process has fallen through the cracks on handover of SFA responsibilities to DE (HD)) be an arbitration process in place to enable this. In simple terms, if you dispute either the damage caused, or the amount charged, then state to the Housing Officer that you are disputing the bill. He/she should then produce a dispute form which you will both complete and sign. This is then attached to 'bill', the "bill" is marked as "disputed" and sent off to the relevant MOD 'Authority' (used to be OC ASU) who along with a unit rep (UFO/UWO or similar) would visit the property, assess the 'damage, and either enforce, reduce, waive, or dismiss the bill as necessary.

The fact that some of this process has disappeared is irrelevant - you have a right to dispute damage and for it to be independently assessed. Regardless of that, only your CO can enforce bill payment, and he will need to be reassured that the damage is attributable to the individual, and is reasonable, before enforcing payment.

This does not however, remove your obligations, and if the charge is fair and reasonable, pay it. Furthermore, the key to reducing problems at move out is to report problems/damage at the time they occur and not leave it to the march out for it to be identified. If you do, the Housing Officer will be put under pressure to raise a bill, as there is very little time for them to assess and implement other options, potentially without billing, before you move out.



When my wife and i moved out of our quarter in bulford we decided not to employ the services of the contract cleaners and decided to do the house ourselves. Luckily my wife took the trouble of photographing every single wall and carpet then covered each wall and floor in its own fault sheet. On the day of the march out the DHE rep who came to do the march out was LATE and took all of 3 mins to look in the house, never even went upstairs and the usual sticking point ie the cooker/oven would not have even been check unless the wife made the DHE rep check it out. But we had covered ourselfs by making the extensive inspection so we were ready to argue the odds if any bills were to be raised
In my day… I moved 14 times in 20 years in MSQ. I only had trouble moving out twice but we always seemed to allocated grubby MSQ to move into.

I seem to remember that charges for MSQ came under ‘Barrack Damages’ in QR’s/MML. This clearly stated that a soldier had to be’ NEGLIGANT’ to cause or allow to be caused any damage. Negligence is extremely hard to prove and the definition of negligence in these publications tends to give the benefit of the doubt to the soldier unless there is clear evidence to the contrary. I used this argument to great effect in Cyprus when they tried to charge me for sweat stains on furniture. I lived in a prefab in Richmond Village, no issued fans or air con. The heat was 110 in the shade; my family were going to sweat. Was I negligent in allowing my family to use the issued nylon covered furniture? The powers that be tried to stop my flight home, but the case went to legal and they agreed with me. Charges dropped but with a warning not to publicise my case as it could ‘affect your career’. Needless to say I repeated this story to all who would listen for 10 years and I ended up RSM.

Perhaps one of you in the clerical field could do some research and see if this loop hole still exists.
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