Renting to members of the military? They can make great tenants! However, because they have special federal rent protections under SCRA it can pose a challenge for landlords. If the servicemember receives orders for deployment or move to another base, they are entitled to break their rental agreement. Servicemembers are still required to undergo background checks and provide references just like civilians, and can be evicted for the same reasons as civilians. Creekbend Property Management has provided some FAQ’s regarding the SCRA and military personnel rights:
What do landlords and servicemembers need to know to be prepared!
What is SCRA?
The Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides relief to military personnel when dealing with the termination of rental property leases. If an active duty marine, sailor, airman, or soldier receives orders for a permanent change of station (PCS) or deployment orders for 90 days or more they may terminate their lease without penalty. This also includes those who are transitioning into the military. SCRA contains provisions that a landlord may not discriminate against military personnel or their spouses and children on the basis of military status without the risk of civil liability. For more information on the SCRA, go to this link https://scra.dmdc.osd.mil/
The SCRA does not cover National Guard members or military reservists unless they are deployed to a national emergency, i.e. hurricane of earthquake relief.
What should the servicemember do if they need to break a rental agreement?
Provide two things to the landlord:
- The servicemember needs to provide a written notice that states their intention to terminate the lease and invoke their rights under the SCRA.
- A copy of the military orders (Deployment, PCS, ETS)
If the orders haven’t come through yet, the servicemember may ask the commander for a letter that states the active duty orders or PCS orders will be provided when they are received.
When will the lease officially end?
The lease will terminate 30 days after the next rent payment is due. If they deliver their notice in the middle of the month and they pay rent on the first of the month, then their lease will expire at the end of the next month
What about Military Personnel (ETS) who are retiring, resigning, or separating from service?
According to the Joint Federal Travel Regulation Ch. 5 U5000 B (JFTR), ETS are a subcategory of PCS, covering service members who reach the expiration of their term of service (ETS) or those members who have retired, resigned, separated with honorable conditions, or retired due to temporary disability. ETS do count as a permanent change of station and the same 30-day notice and copy of the orders are required to provide to the landlord.
What if the servicemember’s name is not on the lease?
Some states extend SCRA protection if the lease was for the use of the servicemember, even if the servicemember’s name is not directly on the lease. If the servicemember’s spouse’s name is on the lease, then he or she can also legally break the lease.
Creekbend Property Management knows the many good reasons to have a military tenant, but knowledge about how the SCRA can make the landlord-tenant relationship even better and prepare you for any issues that may arise. Creekbend Property Management offers complete tenant screenings; background checks, criminal and credit, rental history, pet screening and eviction screening. We manage so you don’t have to!
Creekbend Property Management is located in Charleston, SC specializing in rental properties in downtown Charleston, James Island, Isle of Palm, Johns Island, Kiawah, Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner, North Charleston, and West Ashley. We are licensed and insured, providing leasing services, management services, maintenance, and most importantly; giving our property investors peace of mind!