A military clause in a residential lease allows active military personnel to break their lease and get their security deposit back if they are called to duty or must relocate due to connected service activity. This provision is not mandatory but is typically included in leases in areas surrounding military bases. It offers protection to military members and helps landlords accommodate military tenants. In this article, we’ll delve into how a military clause works, its benefits, and how it relates to the Servicemembers Civil Service Relief Act (SCRA). We’ll also provide an example of a military clause.
Understanding the military clause
A military clause is a crucial provision in residential leases, primarily aimed at providing flexibility to active-duty military personnel, National Guard members, and reservists. This clause is typically found in rental agreements near military bases, but its inclusion is not mandatory for landlords.
How a military clause works
Military personnel can invoke a military clause when they experience a permanent change of station or need to relocate due to military orders. To utilize this clause, the active-duty member must:
- Present a copy of their official orders to the landlord.
- Provide written and signed notice of their intention to vacate, including contact information for themselves and their commanding officer.
- Specify the date of final residency and request the return of any security deposits.
It’s advisable to make copies of all documents and send them via Certified Mail with a request for a signed delivery receipt.
Once the landlord receives the orders, the last day of the lease will be the final day of the month following the month when the landlord received the documents. For example, if notification is given in January, the lease will end on the last day of February, with rent payment extending through that date.
It’s essential to note that not all rental agreements include a military clause. Tenants should thoroughly review and understand their rental documents, as some clauses may include limitations regarding the distance of the change of station.
Military clause and the SCRA
The military clause bears similarities to certain provisions of the Servicemembers Civil Service Relief Act (SCRA), a federal law enacted in 1940 to protect military personnel during active duty. The SCRA safeguards against various financial hardships, including vehicle repossession, loss of belongings in storage facilities, foreclosures, and more. It applies to both permanent changes of station and deployments lasting more than 90 days.
If a service member encounters difficulties breaking a lease or if the landlord refuses to honor the SCRA, they can seek assistance from the nearest military legal assistance program office, which can be located through the Department of Defense website.
Each state varies in its support of the military clause. In the event of a conflict, state law will typically supersede the military clause.
Frequently asked questions
Is a military clause mandatory in residential leases?
No, a military clause is not mandatory in residential leases. It is typically included in leases in areas surrounding military bases, but landlords are not required to include it.
Who is eligible to invoke a military clause?
Active-duty military personnel, National Guard members, and reservists are eligible to invoke a military clause if they experience a permanent change of station or need to relocate due to military orders.
What should I include in my notice to the landlord when invoking a military clause?
Your notice should include a copy of your official orders, a written and signed intention to vacate with contact information for themselves and their commanding officer, the date of final residency, and a request for the return of any security deposits.
- A military clause allows active-duty military personnel, who either are called to duty or must relocate, to break a lease and get their security deposit back.
- This clause is typically included in leases in areas surrounding military bases, but it is not mandatory.
- It is only available to active-duty military, National Guard, and reservist members.
- The military clause is similar to parts of the Servicemembers Civil Service Relief Act (SCRA), offering protection to military members during active duty.
View article sources
- Early lease termination for servicemembers and dependents – North Carolina State Bar
- Termination Of A Lease By A Service Member – Washington State
- Include a Military Clause in Your Lease – University of North Texas
- Property Manager’s Guide to the Servicemember Civil Relief Act – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Does Breaking a Lease Affect Your Credit Score? – SuperMoney