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 dealing with 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 has its own rules that are absent when leasing to other tenants, particularly when approaching tenants who break their lease or are periodically absent for training, securing the property, and collecting late rental payments. As an owner, it is critical to know what the law says, including how it may affect the tenant-landlord relationship in order to avoid violating your tenant’s rights.

Breaking the Lease

All U.S. military personnel are protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which strives to assist active military personnel, together with their families, to handle certain financial and legal obligations. The  Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), encompasses many situations, inclusive of an active member of the military who is a property lessee. Specified under this federal law, lessors are compelled to allow a tenant to break a lease without penalty if certain conditions are met.

To illustrate, when military personnel receives 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. Even though granting a military tenant’s petition 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 recommended to attend training at locations around the country. This rests on whichever branch of the military he or she is working with, furthermore, where they are stationed, this training could be as short as two weeks or as long as a month or more. When tenants say 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. Assuming that the tenant intends to return to the property and continues to fulfill the lease terms, the property owner must do so in return.

Securing the Property

In the event of an extended absence, investors may have questions about the security of their rental house. Vacant houses are likely targets of problems, from vandals to break-ins and so on. If you happen to be close by, you can inspect on your property more often to make sure that nothing is amiss. But, if you are not in a position to do so, there are other options that may help keep your property safe during your tenant’s leave, from security systems to hiring a property management company such as Real Property Management Traditions to ensure your property is safe.

Collecting Late Rental Payments

Another protection offered by federal law is the obligation to delay eviction proceedings for situations such as nonpayment of rent. When your tenant or any one of the 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

Entering into leasing with tenants who are active members of the military takes time and knowledge of the law. For most rental property lessor that are unaware of the law, there are multiple ways to get yourself into legal trouble. But enlisting Real Property Management Traditions can be of great help. Our team of Providence property managers have experience leasing properties to military tenants and have a full understanding of all related federal, state, and local laws. With our tips and strategies, you can safeguard your valuable investment and keep yourself and your tenant free from legal complications. Contact us today for a more in-depth explanation. 

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.