From The Mailbag: Unhappy Landlords

Usually, I get emails from people wanting to break their lease because they are PCSing or deploying.  Occasionally, however, I get emails from landlords who are unhappy with the way the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects military service members.

Hello,

I’m a property manager and I’d like to know what are the laws regarding BAH, single persons and deployment.

We’ve had an influx of persons (Navy) who are trying to keep the BAH fully intact and terminate their lease early to deploy. How can they do this.

TG

While I am sure this frustrating for the property manager, she really should know better if she is a real estate professional.  The landlord is obviously losing a portion of their income.  However, this is one of hazards of renting to military folks.  In return for this possible negative, the landlord receives steady payments and probably an inflated rental amount.

Ms. G,

BAH entitlement and early termination of leases are two entirely separate issues.  As a landlord, you are bound by the terms of your lease and by the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA).  Under the SCRA, servicemembers who deploy are guaranteed the right to terminate their lease within the guidelines.  Whether they receive BAH is not relevant to the SCRA or your responsibilities as a landlord.

I recommend that you become familiar with the SCRA and it’s provisions as it applies to lease termination.  This is critical to ensuring that you are following the law.

Hope that helps,

Kate

I advise everyone who deals with renting property and the military to understand the SCRA thoroughly.  It is an important law that provides great protections for servicemembers, but you have to know all the ins and outs.

If you are using the SCRA to break your lease, I ask that you be kind and helpful to your landlord, at least until they start being difficult.  Provide them with notice as soon as you are able, and understand your responsibilities under the SCRA or the terms of your lease.  We need these landlords to keep renting to military families!

Hope everyone is enjoying a super weekend.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.