If you are in a lease and getting ready to change duty stations, deploy or go TDY there are some considerations and rights you need to know in dealing with a property manager or property management company.
Before you sign your lease, take 30 minutes to read your lease, or stop by the Housing Services Office and review it with a staff member and avoid the potential of wasting thousands of dollars.
A lease is a binding legal document that covers a specific period of time, usually from six to 12 months in duration. In the case of a long-term lease, you are not agreeing to pay $600 to $1,000 or more a month. You are agreeing to pay up to $12,000 a year broken up into 12 equal payments. If you break the lease, the landlord can, in most cases, legally file suit and require you to pay the entire remaining balance due as well as legal fees, court costs and other associated expenses.
Although the fact that you are in the military has no bearing on legal obligations, the Service Member’s Civil Relief Act, or SCRA, allows service member, under certain circumstances, to break a lease without penalty.
Section 535 (Termination of residential or motor vehicle leases), Paragraph (b)(1)(B), of the SCRA states a lease may be broken if “the service member, while in military service, executes the lease and thereafter receives military orders for a permanent change of station or to deploy with a military unit or as an individual in support of a military operation for a period of not less than 90 days.”
The SCRA combined with a 30-day notice to your property manager allows you to break the lease without penalty.
“But,” you say, “I haven’t received my orders and I’m out of here in 14 days. How do I give notice?” It’s easy. Military orders are defined in part as “official military orders, or any notification, certification or verification from the service member’s commanding officer, with respect to the service member’s current or future military duty status.” So, a note from your commander saying you are pending orders is sufficient.
As you prepare for your upcoming change of station, TDY or deployment, remember to present those orders along with your 30-day notice to vacate the property to the management company or whomever your lease agreement is with.
Should you need assistance or have questions about this process, contact the Fort Campbell Housing Services Office, or HSO, at 270-798-3808 or 270-798-5573. Alternatively, stop by the HSO located in Room 400 of the Soldier Support Center, 2702 Michigan Ave. and allow us to serve as your advocate.