As a landlord, you may wonder if you are allowed to evict a tenant with active military status.
You are right to ask this question, because making a mistake in this area can cost you dearly, not to mention wreak havoc on a servicemember who may deserve the protections of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act .
Being on active military status provides certain protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. These include civil actions, such as evictions.
These protections are in place in order to help our military personnel stay focused on their essential jobs without worrying about their lives back home. But sometimes, it becomes necessary to evict a servicemember.
The most common reason for eviction is failure to pay rent. But landlords should be aware that even this is not reason enough if a tenant has active military status. Landlords who attempt to evict an active servicemember without following the proper steps can face stiff penalties or even jail time.
Step 1: Active military status verification
The first step is to verify active military service. The easiest way to do this is by performing an SCRA search through Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service. The SCRACVS turns around requests quickly and efficiently.
Step 2: Determining whether the SCRA applies
Next, you must find out when SCRA protections apply. This is often verified through a local lawyer familiar with the SCRA. An active military servicemember gets protection from eviction under the SCRA in the form of a stay of up to three months if:
- Their spouse, children or other dependents occupy the rental unit. A dependent is someone whom the service member has supported in the last 180 days by paying more than one half of that person’s living expenses.
- Rent is below a certain threshold. This figure is adjusted every year to match changes in the consumer price index and is shown in the Text of the Act.
- A judge decides that the tenant’s service is materially affecting his or her ability to pay rent.
Step 3: Proceeding fairly
The SCRA allows landlords to serve a termination notice for nonpayment of rent. But landlords must inform the court whether the tenant has active military status.
At this point, the judge will decide whether the tenant’s service is affecting their ability to pay. If so, the eviction may be stayed for up to three months. If not, the lawsuit may result in eviction.
SCRACVS IDs Those with Active Military Status
The frustration of dealing with a tenant who is not paying rent and the possibility of months of waiting time may tempt some landlords to begin the eviction process as soon as possible. Often, however, a better course of action is to start with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service.
The SCRACVS provides you with results within 24 hours of your inquiry for $40. For an extra $30, we can provide you with an affidavit of military service, which some courts require.
If you’re not sure if your tenant has active military status, contact SCRACVS and get your case moving forward and always establish a relationship with a local attorney who knows about landlord/tenant issues and the SCRA.