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What Landlords Need to Know About Tenants and Military Duty

United States Soldier Being Greeted by His Young SonWhen leasing to renters 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 different from leasing to other renters, specifically as regards managing renters who break their lease or are periodically absent for training, securing the property, and collecting late rental payments. Being the property 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

The staff of the U.S. military is under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which plans to help active military personnel and their families handle certain financial and legal obligations. The  Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), includes many situations, covering an active member of the military who is leasing a home. Under this federal law, landholders are compelled to allow a tenant to break a lease without penalty if certain conditions are met.

For example, if military personnel receives an order 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 fulfilling 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 required to attend training at locations around the country. Conditional on which branch of the military he or she goes 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 renter declares 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. Provided that the tenant intends to return to the property and continues to fulfill the lease terms, a landholder must commit the same.

Securing the Property

In the event of an extended absence, property proprietors may have issues regarding the security of their rental house. Vacant houses tend to entice different forms of problems, from vandals to break-ins and other instances. If you are just around the property, you can always visit it to make sure that nothing has gone wrong. But if you are not living nearby to be able to do so, other choices may get your property protected during your renter’s leave of absence, from security systems to hiring a property management company such as Real Property Management Three Rivers to keep a check on your property for you.

Collecting Late Rental Payments

Another protection offered by federal law is the prerequisite to delay eviction proceedings for nonpayment of rent. If the event that your tenant or one of their 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

Renting to renters who are active members of the military takes both time and knowledge of the law. For a lot of rental property landlords unaware of the law, there are countless ways to get yourself in legal trouble. But commissioning Real Property Management Three Rivers can help you. Our team of Murrysville 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 guard your valuable investment and keep yourself and your tenant free from legal complications. Contact us today for more information.

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