Military Clause What it Means How it Works Example

Military Clause What it Means How it Works Example

Military Clause: What it Means, How it Works, Example

What Is a Military Clause?

A military clause is a provision in a residential lease that allows military personnel to break a lease and have security deposits returned if they are called to duty or must relocate due to service activity. It is available to active-duty military, National Guard, and reservist members.

This provision eliminates the fear of separating families during relocations and prevents financial impact from deposit loss.

Key Takeaways

– A military clause allows active military personnel to break a lease and get their security deposit back.

– This clause is typically included in leases near military bases but is not mandatory.

– It is only available to active-duty military, National Guard, and reservist members.

How a Military Clause Works

A military clause is a benefit available to active members of the U.S. military, Reserves, and National Guard. It is typically included in leases near military bases but is not mandatory. By including this provision, landlords can accommodate military tenants and reduce vacancies, but they may face financial hardship if tenants need to break a lease.

Military personnel can invoke a military clause if they receive a permanent change of station. To do so, the active-duty member needs to present official orders and a written notice of their intention to vacate the property, including contact information for themselves and their commanding officer.

After providing a copy of the orders to the landlord, the lease ends on the last day of the month following when the landlord received the documents. Rent payment extends through that day.

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Not all rental agreements include a military clause. It is important to read and understand the full rental document. Some clauses may have a distance limit for the provision to be in effect.

Military Clause and the SCRA

The military clause is similar to parts of the Servicemembers Civil Service Relief Act (SCRA). The SCRA, passed in 1940, is a federal law that protects military members from exploitation and property loss while on active duty. It covers vehicle repossession, storage facility belongings, foreclosures, court cases, credit card debts, and other penalties that transitioning service members may face. The SCRA is effective for permanent changes of station and deployments over 90 days.

If a service member cannot break a lease or the landlord does not honor the SCRA, it is recommended to contact the nearest military legal assistance program office, which can be found through the Department of Defense website.

Each state varies in its support of the military clause. In case of a conflict, state law supersedes the military clause.

Military Clause Example

A typical military clause may state:

"If the Tenant is, or becomes, a member of the United States Armed Forces on extended active duty and receives permanent change of station orders, is relieved from active duty, retires or separates from the military, or is ordered into military housing, the Tenant may terminate this lease with 30 days’ written notice. The Tenant must provide official orders or a letter signed by the tenant’s commanding officer reflecting the change for termination. Prorated rent is payable for any days the tenant occupies the dwelling past the first day of the month. The damage/security deposit will be promptly returned, provided there are no damages to the premises."

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For example, if Pvt. River Johnson signed a one-year lease, language stating that breaking the lease forfeits the security deposit may be included. However, with a military clause, Pvt. Johnson would still receive a return of their security deposit.

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