Skip to Content

Get a FREE assessment of your rental property. Start here!

Get a FREE assessment of your rental property. Start here!

What Landlords Need to Know About Tenants and Military Duty

United States Soldier Being Greeted by His Young SonWhen 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 not the same from renting to other renters, specifically when it comes to handling occupants who break their lease or are periodically absent for training, securing the property, and collecting late rental payments. As an owner, you must know what the law says and how it may affect the tenant-landlord relationship to avoid violating your tenant’s rights.

Breaking the Lease

Members of the U.S. military are ruled by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which purposes to guide active military personnel and their families to handle certain financial and legal obligations. The  Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), encompasses many situations, alongside an active member of the military who is leasing a home. Considering this federal law, landlords are regulated to allow a tenant to break a lease without penalty if certain conditions are met.

For instance, in case of 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 obeying a military tenant’s request 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 demanded 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 tells 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. Granted that the tenant intends to return to the property and continues to fulfill the lease terms, a proprietor should do the same.

Securing the Property

In the event of an extended absence, property owners may have fears about the security of their rental house. Vacant houses tend to draw several types of danger, from vandals to break-ins and beyond. If you live near the property, you can always monitor your property frequently to make certain that nothing is erroneous. On the other hand, if you are not in a situation to do so, other possibilities may help keep your property safe during your tenant’s time off, from security systems to hiring a property management company such as Real Property Management Hampton Roads to look after 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 inhabiting 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 renters who are active members of the military commands both time and knowledge of the law. For a bunch of rental property holders unaware of the law, there are quite a lot of ways to get yourself in legal trouble. But working with Real Property Management Hampton Roads can help. Our team of Norfolk property managers have experience leasing properties to military tenants and have a full understanding of all related federal, state, and local laws. With our assistance, you can better defend 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.