New housing office opens in Ramstein-Miesenbach

Monica Mendoza
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***Military housing officials and German community leaders forged a partnership this week to help German homeowners and military families get connected.

Ramstein-Miesenbach Union Community Mayor Klaus Layes and Col. Kurt Lohide, 435th Air Base Wing commander, announced the official opening of a housing office in the Haus des Bürgers in Ramstein-Miesenbach where German nationals can list houses for rent to servicemembers.

“I hope this office will help your American families feel welcome here in Germany,” said Herr Layes.

Haus des Bürgers, in the center of Ramstein-Miesenbach, is the village community center and has a welcoming atmosphere, Herr Layes said. And the location will be easy for German nationals to get to, he said.

Often, German homeowners find it difficult to list their properties with the military housing office because they cannot get on base, said Ellen Sutterfield, Ramstein section chief of housing referral office, on
Vogelweh. Instead, they would list their property with private realtors, who can charge up to one month’s rent to the servicemember, she said.

She had the idea of an off-base office to make it easier for German property owners to access. Her hope is that more landlords will list their properties with the military office, thereby giving servicemembers more options, she said.

“We lost a lot of landlords,” Ms. Sutterfield said. “This office is the only way to change the process – to provide adequate, affordable housing to our servicemembers without them paying the high realtor fees.”

 Finding a home in a foreign country can be difficult for military members just arriving, especially if they are a young family. “I’m pleased our military members don’t have to go through that,” said Colonel Lohide.

The Ramstein-Miesenbach housing office hopes to attract hundreds of property owners to list their property rentals. Since the opening of the housing office in the German American Community Office in Kaiserslautern, more than 400 homes have been listed.

“We inspect all of the housing rentals,” said Ms. Sutterfield. “We want to do this from beginning to end for our servicemembers. And, everything is free.”