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Library > Fact Sheets > Off base housing costs


Posted 3/18/2010 Printable Fact Sheet

Newcomers who plan to live off base can expect to pay a number of upfront costs prior to moving in to their house or apartment. Standard practice by housing agencies on Okinawa is to charge an agency fee usually equal to 25-50% of one month's rent, a security deposit equal to one month's rent, and first/last month's rent, all due at lease signing.

Though these types of charges are familiar to many newcomers, the rather high cost of housing on Okinawa (as of March 2010, overseas housing allowance for an E-5 with no dependents is 162,000 yen, roughly $1,800) can make these move-in costs a particular burden - it's not uncommon for members to have to fork over upwards of several thousand dollars.

To mitigate these expenses, the Department of Defense does provide several moving allowances (Move-In-Housing Allowance, Dislocation Allowance, etc.) to its PCSing members, but these are rarely enough to cover all of the move-in expenses. Check allowance rates here.

Many members opt to take out a pay advance in order to cover these costs - a quick and easy process that can be accomplished after arriving on Okinawa - but members are reminded that the advanced monies will be taken out of their pay in the ensuing months (usually a 12-month payback period) and are encouraged to plan for these costs prior to arriving on Okinawa.

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