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What Landlords Need to Know About Tenants and Military Duty

United States Soldier Being Greeted by His Young SonOccasionally the occupying tenants can be members of the U.S. Military, and there are specific federal laws that change the way a property owner can legally conduct business. Renting to military tenants varies when renting to common tenants, such as when it comes to negotiating with tenants who break their lease or are periodically absent for training, securing the property, and collecting late rental payments. It is a must know what the law says, moreover, how it may affect the tenant-landlord relationship in order to avoid violating your tenant’s rights.

Breaking the Lease

Registered service members of the U.S. military are included in the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which is there to assist active military personnel as well as their families handle certain financial and legal obligations. The  Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), involves many situations, including an active member of the military who is under contract. As imposed by this federal law, it is specified to allow a tenant to break a lease without penalty if certain conditions are met.

Case in point, if military personnel receive orders of transfer (deploy or induction) more than 35 miles from the property, a discharge, or if there is a loss of life, they can legally break their lease. While acceding to a military tenant’s plight to break their lease can be a burden, by law, renters cannot be penalized or their security or other deposits withheld for breaking a lease due to transfers or other service-related circumstances.

Training Absences

Active members of the military are repeatedly enforced to attend training at locations around the country. With respect to whichever branch of the military the individual is enlisted to and wherever they are stationed, this training could be as short as two weeks or as long as a month or more. If a tenant lets you know that they will be gone for training, it is important to note that even an extended absence is not grounds for eviction or other legal action. Considering the tenant intends to return to the property and continues to fulfill the lease terms, you should do the same.

Securing the Property

In the event of an extended absence, owners might have questions with regard to the security of their rental house. Vacant houses tend to lend themselves to attacks, from vandals to break-ins and even graver things. In case you are close by, you can look out for your property generally to ensure that nothing is amiss. Nonetheless, if you are not in a position to do as such, there are various options that may help keep your property secure during your tenant’s vacation, from security systems to hiring a property management company such as Real Property Management Prosperity to attend to the house.

Collecting Late Rental Payments

Another protection offered by federal law is the specification to delay eviction proceedings for nonpayment of rent. On the occasion that your tenant or any of their dependents is still living in the rental house during their active military service, and the rent is $3,851.03 per month or less, then the court is required to give the tenant at least 90 days to address the situation. The SCRA does not prevent a landlord from serving an eviction notice, but it may prevent you from taking action against a servicemember tenant or their dependents.

In Conclusion

Engaging with tenants who are active members of the military calls for both time and knowledge of the law. For the rental property landlords unaware of the law, there is a multitude of avenues for legal trouble. But getting the services of Real Property Management Prosperity can help you avoid complications. Our team of Newtown property managers have experience leasing properties to military tenants and have a full understanding of all related federal, state, and local laws. With us on your side, we can assure the best protection of your valuable investment and keep yourself and your tenant free from legal complications. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.