Rental Partnership Program
Frequently Asked Questions
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 (HSO) before signing any lease or committing to any property under the Rental Partnership Program.
WHAT IS RPP?
The Rental Partnership Program helps JBLM single 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% 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 as the rent is deposited directly into the landlord’s account on the first of every month. 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 (BAH), may participate in the program.
HOW DO I ENROLL INTO THE PROGRAM?
Service Members must first find a Property. Once they have a property they will get an Intent to Rent from the RPP Property off of the Approved RPP list. Then email the RPP representative the Intent to Rent to email@example.com and request an application. SM will receive an email with step by step guidance. When all actions and the final counseling have been completed, qualified Service Members will receive an Eligibility Certificate. The Eligibility Certificate is to be presented to the landlord of the RPP property selected by the Service Member.
WHAT PROPERTIES ARE PARTICIPATING IN THE PROGRAM?
To obtain an updated list of participating properties, please click on the following link: RPP Referral List.
WHO CAN I CONTACT FOR ASSISTANCE?
Questions pertaining to the RPP may be directed to the Housing Services Office at (253) 967-3581 or (253) 967-5127. While we would like to answer every call immediately, due to high customer volume, you may reach a voice message. 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 consider contacting us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Leases may be terminated by the Service Member with 30 days advance notice when possible, if the military requires the Service Member to relocate. Such a move includes deployment, a permanent change of station (PCS) or temporary duty (TDY) for a period in excess of three (3) months. According to state and federal laws, short-notice PCS or deployment orders require the Service Member to show the short-notice orders to the landlord within seven days of receipt and the Service Member must be released from the lease. If an issue arises as to when the Service Member received the orders, the Landlord agrees to accept an official memorandum from the Service Member's Commander or First Sergeant as to the date the Service Member received the orders.
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 will process the allotments for the Service Member. This company receives the proceeds of the allotment and electronically transfers the rent to the landlord on the second day of each month. This allotment processing service will charge a minimal service fee per month, which will be added in 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.
HOW ARE ALLOTMENTS STOPPED?
The Service Member signs an agreement with the landlord which states they will not stop their allotment until they have properly cleared the RPP. The stop allotment will be processed through the HSO if the Service Member owes nothing to the landlord. This will be noted on the Move-out Inspection Report. 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, and assuming there is no dispute as to the balance owed, the Service Member may provide the HSO with a written payment arrangement that has been approved by the landlord for clearance purposes.
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 parties to a mediation 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. 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.
HOW DOES THE PROGRAM AFFECT THE SERVICE MEMBER’S CURRENT LEASE (NON RPP)?
If a SM 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 SM may immediately participate in the program; however, the landlord agrees that the SM 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 lease execution. 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.
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. The Service Member will be required to stop by the HSO for instructions on renewal procedures.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE SERVICE MEMBER RECEIVES ORDERS?
If the Service Member receives PCS orders, deployment orders, or TDY orders for more than 3 months he/she may terminate the lease before the end of the lease term. The Service Member must present a copy of orders to the landlord and give a 30 day written notice. If the Service Member receives short notice PCS or deployment orders that do not allow for a 30 day notice, he/she will not be penalized. As much notice as possible will be given. The Service Member must show these short-notice orders to the landlord within 7 days of receipt.
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, Service Member 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.
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 come out and 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.