Senate Passes Bill to Expand SCRA due to COVID-19

The U.S. Senate has passed legislation to extend extra privileges through the SCRA to servicemembers affected by COVID-19, including allowing those whose orders to relocate have been canceled or held up to break leases and contracts.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is a federal law that protects servicemembers from some court actions, including foreclosures, evictions, repossessions and contract disputes without a court order. The purpose of the law is to ensure servicemembers do not suffer consequences unfairly due to their military status.

For instance, the SCRA allows servicemembers who receive orders to deploy to another location to break a home or car lease, cancel a cable contract or end other types of agreements without penalty. When COVID-19 hit, many servicemembers were left in limbo. They had orders to deploy or change duty stations that may have been canceled or put on hold. As a result, a number of servicemembers have leases for cars or apartments in two locations.

The legislation has been cosponsored by Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., Senate Veterans Affairs Committee chairman; Joe Manchin, D-W.V., SVAC member; Jerry Moran, R-Kan., SVAC member; Bill Cassidy, R-La., SVAC member; Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., SVAC member; Mike Rounds, R-S.D., SVAC member; Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., SVAC member; John Boozman, R-Ark., SVAC member; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, SVAC member; Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., SVAC member; Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, SVAC member; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, SVAC member; Thom Tillis, R-N.C., SVAC member; Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., SVAC member; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., SVAC member.

Reps. Mark Takano, D-Calif., and Phil Roe, R-Tenn., subsequently introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. If the House passes the bill, it will then go to the president who will either sign or veto it.

How the Bill Affects You

If you’re a moneylender, landlord, property manager or vehicle leaser, this law could affect you, if passed. Violating the SCRA by unlawfully evicting a tenant, repossessing a vehicle or engaging in another barred activity can result in steep fines and penalties.

However, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service helps you stay compliant by providing military status verifications. Our service is fast, reliable and economical to use. We even offer bulk rates for large orders.

Log into your account or sign up today, and get the peace of mind you need for all your business dealings.

Roy L. Kaufmann

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.