tenant moved out early but in army?

17 Replies

coupled moved in signed 1 year lease. 3 months into lease they split up and now he can't afford it by himself. Now hes trying and just got deployed in the army. Do I have to give them back their "last month rent" and security deposit because hes in the army? He told me there's some law that protects him in-case he gets deployed (told me when he moved in). He gave me 7 days notice not 30 like required.  States in lease I need 30 days notice and move out early you forfeit last months rent and security deposit. 

@Jimmy S.  You should look up the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act.  While there are protections offered by The Act, it is reasonable to expect notification and not be subject to abuse of the benefit.  Even if he volunteers for a deployment, that is likely to take months before he leaves and it's not likely that he'll just disappear and go overseas.  There may be something more that you and I are unaware of, but from what you said, it sounds like he is just looking for an easy immediate way out of the lease.

Follow Robert's advice. Texas has a carve out for military members. I don't know exact details but I know where to find it. I suspect PA has something similar since the military can move their folks around at will.

Originally posted by @Robert Leonard :

@Nate M. You should look up the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act.  While there are protections offered by The Act, it is reasonable to expect notification and not be subject to abuse of the benefit.  Even if he volunteers for a deployment, that is likely to take months before he leaves and it's not likely that he'll just disappear and go overseas.  There may be something more that you and I are unaware of, but from what you said, it sounds like he is just looking for an easy immediate way out of the lease.

He said hes being deployed overseas in the 10 days. Has training for 1 week and hes gone.  He did not ask about the secuirty or last months rent but not sure what im going to tell him when and if he asks for it back. The girlfriend might fight and want it back but not sure if that evens matters.

Was the gf on the lease or just the gentleman in the army?

I believe breaking leases for deployment is US wide, not state by state... but as said, there are still some requirements.  Check those requirements and see if they also apply to his spouse/gf if they aren't deploying as well.

Originally posted by @Nathan Emmert :

Was the gf on the lease or just the gentleman in the army?

I believe breaking leases for deployment is US wide, not state by state... but as said, there are still some requirements.  Check those requirements and see if they also apply to his spouse/gf if they aren't deploying as well.

 Yes both are on the lease. They broke up few weeks ago and now he told me he cant afford the place on this own. He going back into the army and hopes he gets deployed which he is now. 10 days he leaving overseas. 

I looked up the law and what I got from it is he needs to give me 30 days notice, put it in writing and needs to be deployed more then 90 days overseas.  Does a text message counts "putting it in writing"? 

They are cleaning the place and will be out in a few days, not sure if they think they are getting their deposit back $2300 or not. Im not trying to be greedy but its going to sit vacant at least 1 month and will have to pay to heat it and no notice was even giving to me...

I would consider a text message "putting it in writing" but it's probably in the gray area of the law system which hasn't done enough to keep up with the electronic age.  If it's not 30 days, I wouldn't give them the money back.  Did you check to see if him deploying allows the gf to break the lease?  If not, another reason not to refund it.

It's not about being greedy, it's about an investment.  There is a significant cost in turning over a unit.  You have a right to recoup some of those costs if a tenant doesn't meet their commitments.

Originally posted by @Nathan Emmert :

I would consider a text message "putting it in writing" but it's probably in the gray area of the law system which hasn't done enough to keep up with the electronic age.  If it's not 30 days, I wouldn't give them the money back.  Did you check to see if him deploying allows the gf to break the lease?  If not, another reason not to refund it.

It's not about being greedy, it's about an investment.  There is a significant cost in turning over a unit.  You have a right to recoup some of those costs if a tenant doesn't meet their commitments.

 thanks for easing my mind. I think my weakness is im always to nice. The gf just cant afford it. Rent is $1200 she makes $2400 a month. He makes $5500.

How can I find out if by him deploying allows the gf to break the lease? 

Thanks again

Call an attorney.   Pay him for an hour of his time. 

you have to know the laws.  this is common in military towns- I personally would not try to hold the security deposit for a legit thing like that, however, I would ask to see a copy of the orders.

@Nakte M.  

Just curious if he is showed you "proof" that he is actually being deployed. It seems  like things went down hill for the couple and he's now trying to get  out of the lease. Every time I'm I was deployed, I would receive orders which contained my name, and date when  I would be deployed. I would  show the orders to my insurance  company  who would cut me a break on  my car insurance. 

I would verify that  this is the case...if not, keep the money.

http://paycheck-chronicles.military.com/2010/03/06/spouses-and-leases/

Spouses appear to be protected, I'd be nice and apply that to a gf as well personally.

Sounds like there is a process... Follow it and everyone gets out fair.

@Jimmy S.  

Military can break a lease like it's nothing and there isn't much you can do about it.  You definitely can't punish them by keeping money that isn't yours.  I'm in the military and I prefer not to rent to them.  I've seen too many times they sign a lease knowing they will not fulfill it and then break for countless legal reasons.   It's usually the younger single members that do that, not the married with kids group.  Oh yeah... Orders... I've made them for members in the past to break leases with crappy landlords.  

He is required to give you his orders. He needs to be deploying for 90+ days.

@Bryan N.  Has a solid point. I have seen the same, as well.

This PDF document should answer all of your questions: http://www.dix.army.mil/LegalOffice/files/LEASETER...

Q: HOW CAN I TERMINATE A REAL PROPERTY LEASE? 

A: To terminate a real property lease under Section 535 of the SCRA, a specific procedure must be followed. The service member must deliver a written notice of termination to the landlord, along with a copy of military orders. This notice may be delivered by hand, private business carrier, or mailed, return receipt requested, to the address designated by the landlord. Once proper notification has been provided to the landlord, the effective date of termination for a property lease that requires monthly payments of rent is 30 days after the first date on which the next rental payment is due. For example, assuming Sgt. Jane, who pays rent on the first of each month, provides proper notice of termination to her landlord under the SCRA on the 5th of December, then the effective date of termination is the 1st of February. The effective date for leases not requiring monthly payments of rent is the last day of the month following the month in which the notice is delivered. For example, assuming Sgt. Jane provides proper notice of termination to her landlord under the SCRA on the 5th of December, then the effective date of termination is the 31st of January.

Q: WHAT HAPPENS TO ANY LEASE AMOUNTS I PAID IN ADVANCE? A: With regards to both real property and motor vehicle lease terminations, any rents or lease amounts that had been paid in advance for a period that subsequently falls after the effective date of the termination of the lease are to be refunded within 30 days of the effective date of the lease termination.

Q: CAN MY LANDLORD OR THE COMPANY THAT LEASED THE MOTOR VEHICLE CHALLENGE MY TERMINATION NOTICE? A: Yes. The SCRA provides protection for service members to terminate their leases in the absence of a military termination clause. However, the SCRA does afford the landlord or company leasing the vehicle an opportunity to challenge the service member

Here is another one. 

They can "PCS" meaning change commands.  They can leave Fort X, go to training in a different area for 91 days, and return to Fort X.  Guess what... Break lease...

Another one

My EAOS is in March.  They are going back home to "pick a state" and will be unemployed.  You allow them to break the lease so you can get it rented again.  But guess what?  After the lease is broken they reenlist and sign a new lease with someone else.  

The list is endless.  Most do the right thing.  But, just because your military doesn't mean your not a "professional tenant"

We can even break a car lease if needed.  

But, to keep things in perspective.  These laws were enacted due to landlords and shady people screwing the military over.  So, let's keep that in perspective as well.  We do things most Americans won't.  Those things bring consequences to the members and their families that most people can't even imagine.  If you could see what I see in my mind when I fall asleep at night... you would wish you hadn't.  

@Jimmy S.  

I hope you got your answer. Just wanted to write to you in case you didn't. My husband is active duty so I have dealt alot with these situations. 

They have to give you 30 days notice from the first of the month no matter what. Spouses are covered Girl Friends are not. I also require my tenants to give me something from the command saying they are deployed (orders/letter/etc). 

@Nate M. 

Military members typically know for weeks in advance if not months.  If he is really deploying then he will have orders stating where and how long.  Without those he may just be looking for a way to get over on you.  I would request a copy of his orders and his unit because the locals should be able to tell you if that specific unit is actually deploying.

@Elizabeth Colegrove yes I did. Sounds like he did not follow any of these guidelines so far.

Thanks everyone for all your help

Get the Ultimate Beginner's Guide

Sign up today to receive the popular eBook for free!