What Landlords Need To Know About the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
The SCRA offers many benefits to America’s military personnel and landlords need to be sensitive and aware of those protections.
The SCRA applies to any tenant whose rent falls below $3329.84/month (in 2015).
If the Tenant defaults?
You can send out a default or termination notice; but, beyond that, you MUST obtain a court order before any eviction. During that law suit, you will need to present an affidavit about the tenant’s military status. We can help you to obtain that affidavit.
The judge may postpone the court proceedings for up to 3 months and may decide whether the missed payments are because of the military status.
Dependents of servicemembers may get protections only if they ask the judge for those protections.
Military personnel can sometimes terminate leases (residential, business, and other types of leases) if:
- The lease was signed before active duty
- The lease was signed during active duty and the tenant gets a permanent change of station for a period of more than 90 days.
A valid termination of a lease terminates a co-tenant’s liabilities.
How does a Servicemember terminate residential a lease?
He or she sends a written notice to the landlord or property manager with copies of the military orders either by hand or commercial carrier (like Fedex) or certified mail with return receipt.
Usually, the termination is effective the first day of the next full month after notification.
Money paid by the tenant for any period after the termination has to be refunded. The landlord may not charge a termination fee, but any taxes and other obligations under the lease that are due at termination need to be paid by the tenant.
A Landlord may not take shortcuts – You need to go to court. You may not change the locks. You may not dispose of personal property. The SCRA includes criminal penalties!
Verify military service here as early as you can in the process. It is the Landlord’s civic, moral, and legal obligation.