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What Landlords Need to Know About Renters and Military Duty

United States Soldier Being Greeted by His Young Son As a Lebanon property owner, you should be aware of the primary differences between renting to members of the military and other types of tenants. When renting to tenants who are members of the U.S. military, there are particular federal laws that impact the way a property owner can legally conduct business. Regardless of whether it’s dealing with tenants who break their lease or are sometimes absent for training, guaranteeing the property‘s protection, or collecting late rental payments. Before renting to military members, you should understand what the law says and how it may affect the landlord/tenant relationship. This can help you avoid violating your renter’s rights.

Breaking the Lease

Members of the U.S. military are protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which aims to protect active military personnel and their families against several financial and legal obligations. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides assistance in a variety of scenarios, like an active member of the military who is renting a home. According to this federal law, landlords are required to permit a tenant to break a lease without penalty if certain terms are fulfilled.

As an illustration, if military personnel receive orders of transfer (deploy or induction) more than 35 miles from the property, a discharge, or a loss of life, they can legally break their lease. While honoring a military tenant’s request to break their lease can be complicated, by law, renters cannot be fined or their security or other deposits withheld for breaking a lease because of transfers or other service-related issues.

Training Absences

Active military members are often mandated to travel for training in different parts of the country. Contingent upon which branch of the military they are connected to and where they have been stationed, these trainings could be as quick as two weeks or as long as a month or more. If a tenant reminds you that they’ll be out for training, it is critical to understand 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 landlord must do the same.

Securing the Property

In the event of a lengthy absence, Lebanon property managers may be anxious about the security of their rental house. Vacant houses attract all kinds of danger, from vandals to break-ins and beyond. You can check on your property often to ensure everything is clear if you are nearby. But suppose you are incapable of performing that task. In that event, there may be additional options to keep your property secure during your tenant’s absence, from security systems to contracting a property management company such as Real Property Management Beacon to properly maintain your property for you.

Collecting Late Rental Payments

Another federal protection the law offers is the duty to delay eviction proceedings for nonpayment of rent. If your tenant or one of their dependents is staying in the rental house during their active military service, and the rent is $3,851.03 per month or less, then the court shall grant the tenant at least 90 days to resolve the matter. The SCRA doesn’t preclude a landlord from serving an eviction notice, but it may restrict you from taking action against a servicemember tenant or their dependents.

Delayed Civil Court Actions

At last, the SCRA allows active military members to demand a stay on any civil court actions that may be undertaken against them. If you have a legal dispute with your military tenant, the law dictates that they may be permitted to delay that action while on active duty. Moreover, the typical statute of limitations does not apply while a military renter is on active duty. This can dramatically impact the typical legal timelines for tenant/landlord disputes, so you must keep this in mind if your issues lead to a court filing.

Renting to active military tenants costs both time and expertise of the law. For many rental property owners who are totally unaware of the regulations, there are countless ways to find themselves in legal trouble. However, engaging with Real Property Management Beacon can greatly aid. Our team of Lebanon property managers have experience leasing properties to military tenants and is well-versed in all related federal, state, and local laws. With our guidance, you can better protect your valuable investment and prevent legal complications for you and your tenant. 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.

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