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What Landlords Need to Know About Tenants and Military Duty

United States Soldier Being Greeted by His Young SonIn cases where the renting tenants 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 differs from renting to everyday tenants, especially in situations when tenants tend to break their lease or are periodically absent for training, securing the property, and collecting late rental payments. As a property owner, it is imperative to know what the law says and also how it may affect the tenant-landlord relationship in order to avoid violating your tenant’s rights.

Breaking the Lease

Soldiers of the U.S. military are assisted by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which is a mandate to aid active military personnel along their families to handle certain financial and legal obligations. The  Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), incorporates many situations, inclusive of an active member of the military who is a property renter. Under this federal law, It is obligatory to allow a tenant to break a lease without penalty if certain conditions are met.

Case in point, 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. Allowing a military tenant’s desire 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 oftentimes ordered to attend training at locations around the country. This hinges on which branch of the military he or she is associated with, as well as where they are stationed, this training could be as short as two weeks or as long as a month or more. If a tenant informs 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. Supposing that the tenant intends to return to the property and continues to fulfill the lease terms, an owner should do the same.

Securing the Property

In the event of an extended absence, property investors may show uneasiness with respect to the security of their rental house. Vacant houses are likely to draw many kinds of inconvenience, from vandals to break-ins and who knows what. If you are nearby, you can check on your property regularly to ensure that nothing is out of the ordinary. However, if you are not in a position to visit often, there are other options that may help keep your property protected during your tenant’s leave of absence, from security systems to hiring a property management company such as Real Property Management Albuquerque to secure the property.

Collecting Late Rental Payments

Another protection offered by federal law is the prerequisite to delay eviction proceedings for nonpayment of rent. Granted that your tenant or any number of dependents is residing 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

Doing business with tenants who are active members of the military demands both time and knowledge of the law. For a big number of rental property lessors unaware of the law, a little mistake can lead to legal trouble. But employing the expertise of Real Property Management Albuquerque can make sure that it does not happen. Our team of Rio Rancho property managers have experience leasing properties to military tenants and have a full understanding of all related federal, state, and local laws. With you as our partner, we can better defend your valuable investment and keep yourself and your tenant free from legal complications. Contact us today to start your journey with us. 

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.