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What Landlords Need to Know About Renters and Military Duty

United States Soldier Being Greeted by His Young Son As an Edina property owner, you should be alert of some important 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, certain federal laws impact the way a property owner can legally conduct business. Irrespective of whether it’s engaging with tenants who break their lease or are occasionally absent for training, maintaining the property‘s security, or collecting late rental payments. Before renting to military members, you have to know 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 aims to protect active military personnel and their families from some financial and legal obligations. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) applies to a variety of scenarios, such as an active member of the military who is renting a house. Under this federal law, landlords are required to permit a tenant to break a lease without penalty if specific circumstances are fulfilled.

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 challenging, by law, renters cannot be charged or their security or other deposits withheld for breaking a lease because of transfers or other service-related events.

Training Absences

Active military members are often mandated to engage in training at numerous locations around the country. Contingent upon which branch of the military they are a member of and where they have been stationed, these trainings can last as quick as two weeks or as long as a month or more. If a tenant notifies you that they will be out for training, it is necessary 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 the event of an extended absence, Edina property managers may be worried about the security of their rental house. Vacant houses tend to attract many kinds of problems, from vandals to break-ins and beyond. You can check on your property constantly to guarantee that everything is clear if you are nearby. Yet, assume that you are not incapable of doing so. For that reason, other options may help keep your property secure during your tenant’s absence, from security systems to hiring a property management company such as Real Property Management Viking to look out for your property for you.

Collecting Late Rental Payments

Another federal protection the law offers is the requirement to delay eviction proceedings for nonpayment of rent. If your tenant or one of their dependents is remaining in the rental house during their active military service, and the rent is $3,851.03 per month or less, then the court should give the tenant at least 90 days to resolve the situation. The SCRA does not restrict a landlord from serving an eviction notice, but it may prohibit you from taking action against a servicemember tenant or their dependents.

Delayed Civil Court Actions

Ultimately, the SCRA permits active military members to petition 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 states that they may be allowed to delay that action while on active duty. Furthermore, the standard statute of limitations is not valid while a military renter is on active duty. This can significantly affect the typical legal timelines for tenant/landlord disputes, so it’s critical to remember this should any disagreement lead to a court filing.

Renting to active military tenants needs both time and an understanding of the law. For many rental property owners who are confused about the law, there are multiple ways to find themselves in legal trouble. On the other hand, working with Real Property Management Viking can be beneficial. Our team of Edina property managers has experience leasing properties to military tenants and is completely knowledgeable about all applicable federal, state, and local laws. With our assistance, you can better protect your valuable investment and eliminate legal complications for you and your tenant. Contact us today for more information.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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