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What Landlords Need to Know About Tenants and Military Duty

United States Soldier Being Greeted by His Young SonWhen leasing to tenants who are members of the U.S. military, there are specific federal laws that change the way a property owner can legally conduct business. Renting to military tenants is not like leasing to other tenants, specifically when dealing with tenants who break their lease or are periodically absent for training, securing the property, and collecting late rental payments. As a property owner, you have to know what the law says and how it may affect the tenant-landlord relationship to avoid violating your tenant’s rights.

Breaking the Lease

Representatives of the U.S. military are ruled by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which intends to support active military personnel and their families to handle certain financial and legal obligations. The  Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), encompassing several situations, which includes an active member of the military who is leasing a home. As demanded by this federal law, property owners are being pledged to allow a tenant to break a lease without penalty if certain conditions are met.

For instance, 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 carrying out a military tenant’s need 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 usually required to attend training at locations around the country. Depending on which particular branch of the military he or she is a member of and where they have been stationed, this training could be as short as two weeks or as long as a month or more. If a tenant discloses 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. Provided that the tenant intends to return to the property and continues to fulfill the lease terms, a property owner must execute the same.

Securing the Property

In the event of an extended absence, property owners may have concerns for the security of their rental house. Vacant houses are inclined to attract different types of danger, from vandals to break-ins and beyond. If you are in the immediate location, you can monitor your property repeatedly to confirm that nothing is unsatisfactory. Meanwhile, if you are not in an area to do so, other means may help keep your property protected during your tenant’s leave, from security systems to hiring a property management company such as Real Property Management Pocatello to guard your property for you.

Collecting Late Rental Payments

Another protection offered by federal law is the stipulation to delay eviction proceedings for nonpayment of rent. If your tenant or one of their dependents is dwelling 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

Leasing to tenants who are active members of the military requires time and knowledge of the law. For a lot of rental property owners unaware of the law, there are several approaches to get yourself in legal trouble. But enlisting Real Property Management Pocatello can help. Our team of Chubbuck property managers have experience leasing properties to military tenants and have a full understanding of all related federal, state, and local laws. With our help, you can better preserve your valuable investment and keep yourself and your tenant free from legal complications. Contact us today for more information.

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.