It’s time to PCS - Surviving the Military Family Housing inspection

LOS ANGELES AFB, CA -- One of the most dreaded moments in preparation for the big PCS move is your final housing inspection. You've cleaned your house to the best of your ability but still wonder, "Will it pass the white-glove treatment? Will they fail me? Will I be charged for something I didn't do?"

Well, having some simple knowledge about what and how you will be inspected can certainly help you better prepare your home properly, calm your nerves and become a Military Family Housing inspection survivor.

Your first line of defense to ensure your home is prepared for inspection is to thoroughly read through the cleaning standards that have been provided to you. If you've misplaced this information, it can be easily obtained at the Housing Of- fice at any time.

The cleaning standards include some great tips on how to successfully clean certain difficult-to-clean items. Pay particular attention to these. We suggest you focus on the kitchen (particularly the stove and oven) and the bathroom (especially the tub and toilet), as well as windows (pay particular attention to the screens, window tracks and blinds).

We realize there will be some wear and tear on certain components in your home over the course of your tour here. We anticipate nail holes where you have hung your pictures, discoloration to caulking and weather stripping, general fading of carpet and vinyl in high traffic areas and abrasions and minor scratches on surfaces like tubs and counters. There is no need to be concerned about normal wear and tear.

For damages beyond normal wear and tear, you'll have two options: 1) fix it prior to your inspection or 2) pay to have Civil Engineering make these repairs. If there was damage prior to your occupying your unit, it should have been annotated on your AF Form 227, Quarters Condition Inspection Report, which was filled out by the housing inspector during your initial inspection of the unit. You were also given the opportunity to write in additional discrepancies after your inspection on a separate memo. Pull out your copies of these forms and have them available during your final inspection so you are not charged for pre-existing damage. If you have lost your copies, the Housing Office can provide an additional copy.

Many people are concerned about pet damage, particularly to carpets. If you have pets, it is highly recommended that you have your carpets steam-cleaned prior to your inspection. Be sure you do this far enough in advance that your carpet is dry for inspection.

ALL carpets are tested using a urine detector and a black (UV) light. In combination, these can confirm whether there is urine saturation into the fibers of the carpet. Normally steam cleaning will remove urine unless there is significant damage. Non-pet damage to carpet is treated the same as pet damage with the exception that occupants are not held responsible for normal wear and tear (faded or worn areas or small inconspicuous stains).

Carpet damage is charged to the occupant on a pro-rated basis based on the age of the carpet. The older the carpet, the less the occupant will pay. In addition, charges are only applied to the rooms with damage, not the entire home. Charges for damage (carpet or otherwise) can be paid as a one-time payment through finance or individuals can fill out a form through fi- nance to have the payment made via an allotment from their pay.

Federal Treasury and not retained at the base level so there is no connection between damage payments and carpet replacement. Other factors, such as age of carpet, extent of damage and prioritization of limited Military Family Housing funds, determine when carpet is ultimately replaced.

You may have made some significant improvements to make your house a home when you moved in, whether it was painting a room, putting some built-in shelves in the garage or simply planting flowers. We certainly encourage you to make the most of where you live, but we also have to ensure consistent standards in all our housing units. For that reason, we need to evaluate your self-help work prior to your final inspection.

If you feel that you have made an improvement to your unit that is consistent with the base's standards, you may request a waiver through the base housing office to request that the government accept the work that you accomplished. Be sure to submit your previously approved AF Form 332, Base Civil Engineer Work Request, along with your request for a waiver. Another possibility is that if the next occupant for your unit is identified, that occupant has the option of accepting your self-help work as long as they accept the responsibility of potentially removing the work upon their moveout. Plan to ask these questions regarding your self-help work at your pre-final inspection. If you disagree with the inspector's decision, you may appeal through the Housing Manager.

Hopefully this has taken some of the mystery out of your housing inspection and at least made you feel like you too can be a survivor. Of course, you are always welcome to contact your Housing Office for more insight into your inspection. Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to use a private cleaning service to pass the housing inspection.

We hope you enjoyed your tour at Los Angeles Air Force Base and we look forward to teaming with you for a successful housing inspection. We know you'll do well! For assistance, contact the Housing Office at 310-653-8437.