What You Should Know About the Military Clause


Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, aka the “Military Clause”, strengthens and updates earlier statutes that had provided certain civil protection for military servicemembers. Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), enacted into law December 19, 2003, replaced the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act (SSCRA) of 1940. The SCRA was passed to help ease the economic and legal burdens on military servicemembers inducted, called to active duty, or deployed to new duty stations.

The purpose of the SCRA is to postpone or suspend certain civil obligations to allow servicemembers to give full attention to duty and ease the stress on the servicemember’s family while the servicemember is deployed. Reservists and members of the National Guard in active federal service are also protected under the SCRA.

SCRA protections include certain provisions for:

  • Termination of pre-service lease agreements
  • Evictions from leased housing
  • 6% Interest Rate
  • Court Proceedings
  • Installment Contracts
  • Enforcement of Obligations, Liabilities, Taxes

Contrary to what many military members believe, the SCRA, does not automatically break a lease when receiving transfer orders. There must be a provision in rental agreements to release the military member from obligations in the event the lease is terminated prior to its normal expiration.

This is something that must be requested from the landlord at time of signing. If your landlord doesn’t have this service available, simply visit your housing office and base and they should be able to assist you.

Here are some other important things to know if you are military and need to terminate a rental lease under SCRA:

  • Orders must accompany a written request to terminate a lease
  • Orders must be permanent and 90 days or longer
  • Spouse and family are also protected under the SCRA Act
  • 30 days notice must still be given, in writing and you are still required to pay for the following month’s rent (i.e, if a tenant delivers notice to the landlord on the 20th of the January, and normally pays rent on the 1st of each month, the lease ends on 1 March, the tenant must pay for February’s rent).

Security deposits are fully refundable if you break the lease under SCRA; however, the provisions for security deposits under the landlord/tenant act and any damages you cause to the rental home still apply.

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