Can I Evict A Tenant With Active Military Status?

scra eviction protection

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 (SCRA), including 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. It helps service members materially affected by his or her military service. But sometimes, it becomes necessary to evict a servicemember.

The most common reason for eviction is failure to pay rent. However, landlords should know 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.

What is the SCRACVS?

Determining a service member’s active duty status is vital for SCRA eviction protection. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service (SCRACVS) is a resource for verification of military status under the SCRA as required by courts. The SCRACVS can help landlords determine whether the personnel they deal with is on active duty.

Military verification certifies whether individuals are on federal active duty or are eligible for Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protections. (Some protections continue after termination of active duty.)

Who is covered under SCRA Protection?

According to federal laws, active duty servicemembers (including reservists, National Guardsmen, commissioned Public Health Service officers, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who are in active federal service) get financial and legal protections under federal law.

The SCRA protects those on active service or attending a service school. However, officers who attend training before entering active duty, such as candidate officers, may not be covered.

The servicemember’s dependents are eligible for SCRA protections. Dependents include military spouses, children, or other individuals for whom the servicemember provided more than half the support 180 days before an application for relief.

Step 1: Active military status verification

The first step is to verify active military service. One 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:

  • The rental unit is occupied by their spouse, children, or other dependents. A dependent is someone whom the service member has supported in the last 180 days by paying more than 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 affects their ability to pay rent.

Step 3: Proceeding fairly

The SCRA allows landlords to serve a termination notice for nonpayment of rent. However, landlords must inform the court whether the tenant has active military status.

At this point, the judge will decide whether the tenant’s service affects 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 SCRACVS can provide 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.

To start the process, landlords can register at the SCRACVS website. The website will conduct military verification on behalf of the client using DMDC databases. From there, SCRACVS reports back to the client via e-mail, along with an optional affidavit of military status.

If you’re unsure if your tenant has active military status, contact SCRACVS to move your case forward. Always establish a relationship with a local attorney or local legal assistance office who knows about landlord/tenant issues and the SCRA.


Does SCRA prevent eviction?

The SCRA never prevents a landlord from evicting a tenant. It only requires a court order to be obtained beforehand. It also ensures that military members have a reasonable amount of time to pay back any accrued debts.

Will an eviction prevent me from joining the military?

An eviction shouldn’t hinder your application to join the Armed Forces.

Does SCRA protect against repossession?

The SCRA prevents car loan lenders from repossessing your car without a court order while you’re in military service.

Attorney Roy Kaufmann serves as the Director of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service, located in Washington, D.C. As a recognized authority on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Mr. Kaufmann has published hundreds of articles and hosted many webinars. His teachings help law firms and businesses to remain compliant with the SCRA rules and regulations so as to avoid costly fines.