We Pay Rent

We live in military housing. It’s also known as PMQs, Qs or RHUs.

A lot of people think we don’t have to pay to live here but we do. WE PAY RENT to the Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA).

The rent for each RHU is determined by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

CMHC evaluates the size and state of the house. They evaluate the local market then set the rent at the equivalent to what a mortgage would be for a similar house in the civilian world.

The only difference between renting a civilian house and renting a military house is that the rent fees are taken directly off the military member’s pay at the source.


  • We can’t change the colour of the walls.
  • We can’t refinish the basement.
  • We can’t do extensive landscaping.
  • We get assigned a house or choose from one of the few that are available.


  • We don’t spend money on redecorating.
  • We don’t spend money on renovations.
  • We don’t spend money on landscaping.
  • And just like a civilian rental home, we don’t pay property taxes.
  • There is no long term lease. Rent can adjusted on a per day basis so if we move in the middle of the month we only pay for the days that we live in the house.

I think the advantages out weigh the disadvantages.

What do you think?

7 thoughts on “We Pay Rent

  1. I love living in our Q — but I had only lived in shoddy student-type apartments before this, so it seems glamorous! I love being surrounded by people in the same lifestyle, I feel generally safe, and it is much cheaper than conventional rentals. However, I do get *very* tired of the public assuming I don’t pay rent or conventional bills.

    We actually painted much of our Q, but will be required to re-primer it before we march out. It is quite common here to walk by the Q’s and see vibrant walls in the living rooms through the big bay windows, but I think it likely varies from base to base, and depending on the age and maintenance of the housing.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you “personalized” your Q with paint!

  2. He there! I’ve just found your blog while hopelessly trying to find some info on moving with the CF and would love it if you can help me answer a few basic moving questions! I can’t seem to find an e-mail address or other contact info on your blog. I’ve already read so many things on here that are completely different from what I expected! I guess there are alot of misconceptions out there, like paying very little rent living on base haha,
    Our situation is a little different because my husband will be joining as a Chaplain for the CF, but will have to do his training first in September. Since we are living in the US we are required to move our own belongings back to Canada before Brookfield can move them to our posting location. Our things will just have to go in boxes to storage for a few months while me and the kids stay with family until our “official” move. It seems like the movers need to come in and take inventory of everything you have and there are restrictions on what you can and can’t move? That is going to be very difficult to pack everything I have here within a few weeks, not knowing what the restrictions are. Are they then going to need to open up every box and thoroughly go through and tell me what I can’t take? And then the BIG assumption I had was that they paid to move everything in your house, it seems that there are weight restrictions, or costs that you have to cover yourself?!
    Because my husband is not yet “enrolled”, I can’t speak to anyone at Brookfiled for info, until the end of August, when he has his posting in hand, and i need to be packed and out of our house in the US in the next 3 weeks!
    Any info would be sooooo appreciated!

    1. Hi there Anonymous,
      Thanks for your comment. Be ready for my next blog post. It’s all about moving!

  3. Why do some live on Q and some don’t (I know this question probably sounds silly, but I recently started dating an army man and I’m trying to learn as much as I can). Thank you!

    1. Roxanne – the only silly question is the one that is never asked! It is really a personal choice on whether or not to live in the PMQs.
      No ownership or lease – you can move in and out any time you need to
      You can call the housing office every time repairs are required
      You live close to work – you may not even need to own a car
      Other military families live next door and understand the lifestyle
      The schools close to the Qs understand the military lifestyle and are more familiar with the support systems that children may need

      You can’t paint or renovate your home. Some houses are small with only one bathroom – a disadvantage with several children
      You can call certified specialists and they will come and perform repairs
      Other military families live next door – maybe even your sergeant or commanding officer
      You live close to work and you really don’t want to
      The schools close to the Qs have mostly military families so there isn’t much opportunity for children to socialize with non-military families

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