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What Landlords Need to Know About Tenants and Military Duty

United States Soldier Being Greeted by His Young SonIf you’re renting 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 different from leasing to other tenants, especially when it comes to administering tenants who break their lease or are periodically absent for training, securing the property, and collecting late rental payments. As a landlord, you need 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

Associates of the U.S. military are under the mandate of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which focuses on helping active military personnel and their families handle certain financial and legal obligations. The  Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA),  covers many situations, along with an active member of the military who is leasing a home. As stated by this federal law, property owners are mandated 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 permitting a military tenant’s demand 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 regulated to attend training at locations around the country. Depending on which branch of the military he or she belongs to 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 alerts you 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. As long as the tenant intends to return to the property and continues to fulfill the lease terms, a landowner must have the courtesy and do the same.

Securing the Property

In the event of an extended absence, property landlords may have fears about the security of their rental house. Vacant houses are likely to entice certain types of misfortune, from vandals to break-ins and beyond. If you are close to your rental, you can observe on your property daily to make sure that nothing goes wrong. Nonetheless, if you are not in a situation to do so, other alternatives 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 Premier to keep an eye on your property for you.

Collecting Late Rental Payments

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

Renting to tenants who are active members of the military takes both time and knowledge of the law. For countless rental property owners unaware of the law, there are different ways to get yourself in legal trouble. But contracting Real Property Management Premier can help. Our team of Sunrise 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 safeguard your valuable investment and keep yourself and your tenant free from legal complications. Contact us today for more information.

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