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Landlord rights in regards to Military lease early termination

Posted Jun 27 2022, 11:18

I purchased my 1st investment property from REI Nation last year and a major selling point to me was that the average tenant staying for ~5.5 years. This morning, after ~1.5 years, I was informed my tenant is terminating the lease early, without penalty, because of a military transfer. I looked in the lease agreement and there is no language to support this move. However, there is apparently a federal law allowing for military transfers without penalty. I wish I was aware of this up front, as I would've thought twice about renting to someone who is likely to be relocated during the lease term.

Re-leasing the unit is going to require me to make any necessary repairs and pay one month's rent to the management company for finding a new tenant. In short, this early termination is likely going to wipe out my cash flow for the first year-and-a-half of the lease. It's a huge bummer to have both repair and re-leasing expenses this quickly.

As a landlord, what are my rights here?

- REI is saying the tenant is only responsible for this month's rent, but in my brief googling, it appears they are also responsible for next month's. Is that correct?

- To prevent this in the future, is it within my landlord rights to tell the management company to only lease to a civilian? I want to support the military, but also don't want to lose money on this investment, which will happen if I keep putting in tenants who are likely to get transfers.

I'm sure there are seasoned landlords who knew about this rule, but it had never been brought up to me; I was a little blindsided by the financial hit. Some of it may be recouped by a higher rental fee for a new lease, but it doesn't look like rental prices have increased significantly in the area.

@Chris Clothier, would you mind weighing in?

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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