As a Troy property owner, it’s crucial to understand some major differences between renting to members of the military and other types of tenants. When renting to tenants who are members of the U.S. military, there are detailed federal laws that affect the way a property owner can legally conduct business. Whether it’s handling tenants who break their lease or are sometimes absent for training, making sure the property is safe, or collecting late rental payments. Before renting to military members, you have to understand what the law says and how it may affect the landlord/tenant relationship. This can help you avoid violating your renter’s rights.
Breaking the Lease
Members of the U.S. military are covered by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which intends to shield active military personnel and their families from some financial and legal obligations. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) covers numerous cases, such as an active member of the military who is renting a home. Following this federal law, landlords are required to allow a tenant to break a lease without penalty if certain requirements are followed.
For illustration, if military personnel receive orders of transfer (deploy or induction) more than 35 miles from the property, a discharge, or a loss of life, they can legally break their lease. While honoring a military tenant’s request to break their lease can be difficult, by regulation, renters cannot be punished or their security or other deposits withheld for breaking a lease due to transfers or other service-related reasons.
Active military members are commonly obliged to travel across the country for training. Depending on which branch of the military they are included in and where they have been stationed, these trainings could be as quick as two weeks or as long as a month or more. If a tenant tells you that they will be out for training, it is essential to keep in mind that even an extended absence is not grounds for eviction or other legal action. As long as the tenant intends to return to the property and continues to fulfill the lease terms, a landlord must do the same.
Securing the Property
In case of an extended absence, Troy property managers may have worries about the security of their rental house. Vacant houses are a common target of troublemakers, from vandals to break-ins and beyond. You can check on your property routinely to guarantee everything is clear if you are nearby. Imagine, however, if you’re unable to do so. In this sense, other options may help keep your property secure during your tenant’s absence, from security systems to getting a property management company such as Real Property Management Silverstone to monitor your property for you.
Collecting Late Rental Payments
Another federal protection the law offers is the necessity to delay eviction proceedings for nonpayment of rent. If 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 should grant the tenant at least 90 days to work out the problem. The SCRA does not prevent a landlord from serving an eviction notice, but it may restrict you from taking action against a servicemember tenant or their dependents.
Delayed Civil Court Actions
To finish, the SCRA permits active military members to ask for a stay on any civil court actions that may be brought against them. If you have a legal dispute with your military tenant, the law specifies that they may be authorized to delay that action while on active duty. Furthermore, the standard statute of limitations does not apply while a military renter is on active duty. This can drastically change the anticipated legal timelines for tenant/landlord disputes, so it’s worth noting that should any dispute lead to a court filing.
Renting to active military tenants requires both time and expertise of the law. There are numerous ways for many rental property owners who are ignorant of the law to find themselves in legal trouble. But working with Real Property Management Silverstone can be helpful. Our team of Troy property managers has experience leasing properties to military tenants and can gain an understanding of all related federal, state, and local laws. With our assistance, you can better protect your valuable investment and avoid legal complications for you and your tenant. Contact us today for more information.
Originally published on Dec 27, 2019
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