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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- This all started with an ad on Craigslist. People living in military housing saw an ad for their apartment complex marketed to civilians in Mayport.

So they called First Coast News to ask: Can they do that?

Well, it turns out they can.

It's a new practice here in Jacksonville, and we found out how it works.

"The sailors are always our first priority, and well I'm not a spokesman for Balfort Beatty community, I know that theyshare that same sentiment with the United states Navy," said Mayport Commanding Officer Doug Coccrine.

Coccrine can't think of a reason why people would not want to live in military housing.

"I live on base housing, and I'm convinced that it's the best deal in Northeast Florida," he said.

And now that deal is being extended to civilians in Mayport.

Balfour Beatty Housing is a complex about a mile off the base.

It's clearly marked as Federal Property, but it's a privately owned complex.

They primarily rent to sailors, but starting now, they're filling their empty apartments with civilians as well.

Military residents living there were split on whether or not to welcome non military people to the complex.

Nicole Sizemore has lived there for 2 years, and says she isn't against it.

"As long as they did a proper background check, people need a place to live, it's a house," said Sizemore.

In a written statement, Balfour Beatty says anyone who chooses to live there will have to pass a background check, and will beheld to the same standards as the military residents.

Mayport is one of the first bases to allow the practice, and it certainly has people talking.

"People feel like they deserve the navy housing, and this is their place to live, and they should be surrounded by othermilitary, but people are people and it's a place to live," said Sizemore.

The statement from the complex says that the navy's needs are first, and military members will always be given priority housing.

And since the land is owned by the federal government, the state of Florida cannot collect taxes on it.

Coccrine thinks the partnership is a win for everyone involved.

"Tremendous opportunity for the sailor. We're proud to offer that service," he said.

The empty apartments are available for rent February 1st, and are being advertised for $929 a month.

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