Let’s pretend for a second that you’ve just moved into your new assignment and signed a residential lease on a charming little house. In one fell sweep, you receive an email informing you that your orders have been modified.
Fortunately, one can have faith. If a service member receives formal military orders, he or she may be released from a lease in accordance with the Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Just the facts.
Procedure for Lease Termination
There is a certain process that must be followed if you want to violate your lease by claiming that the SCRA applies.
As part of this strategy, we’ll give the landlord:
- a formal request for relocation owing to military orders;
- payment in full for both the month in which notice is given and the month after;
- a copy of your official military orders;
- payment in full for the next month’s rent.
Keeping an open line of communication with the landlord through this unexpected time of change could be quite beneficial.
You should also consider making an appointment with the legal aid office at the nearest military installation. An attorney working in that office can provide you with additional information regarding the SCRA and other relevant state and municipal regulations affecting landlords and tenants.
For instance, a lease in sunny California may have different rules than one in old Virginia. The masters of the law will be able to help you navigate this new curve in the road.
Does the policy include relocation to military housing?
While we’re on the subject of impromptu military orders, the assignment of military housing can sometimes be a similar case. There are some duty stations where the housing waiting list is so long that you and your family may not know for how long you will be homeless. Notifying the housing office of your intention to begin an off-base lease is recommended since this will keep your name on the housing list.
They may be able to provide you with advice on how to deal with your landlord and the current predicament. Your lease may set forth month-to-month rental requirements as an example. There’s also the option of reaching a temporary housing arrangement with the landlord. Make sure your landlord knows you intend to move into military housing as soon as it becomes available. When terminating your lease, you should know what your landlord expects from you. This could include paying any remaining rent owed or finding a replacement tenant.
Frustration and unnecessary tension could be avoided with some forward work with your landlord to negotiate fair terms. As was previously indicated, it’s wise to consult a legal expert before signing the lease.
The content provided here is for illustrative and conversation purposes only and should not be construed as legal counsel. To learn more about a servicemember’s rights in the event of a lease termination, it is best to speak with an attorney. Making an appointment with the legal office of a military base can be all that’s required.
Consultation with an attorney can help you verify state and municipal regulations, the procedure for invoking the SCRA, and any other requirements for drafting a military clause in a lease.