Dealing with tenants in the Military

12 Replies

Hi everyone, 

I am an aspiring investor from the San Antonio area and am looking to rent to SFH to active military (SA is a large military city). My father is retired Air Force and I accompany him to several base facilities where I can post my information for those who are new and searching for a home. Can you share some valuable lessons that you have learned from having tenants in the military so that I may be better informed?

Thanks! 

Become familiar with the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act in terms of leases (when leases can be broken, what the active duty military personnel must provide the landlord in doing so).  Include a military clause in your lease.

Often those coming into an area have a pretty good idea how long they'll be stationed there.  Feel free to ask them this.  Know the BAH rates for your area.

If having someone contact you from outside your area that wants to rent your place but can't view it themselves, STRONGLY encourage (we now require) that a friend/proxy view the place first for them.  We no longer rent places to folks "sight unseen".

Youngsters just finishing basic training and going to their first station might, at times, be like any youngster renting for the first time.  Starting out in the military doesn't necessarily make them mature.  It's helpful to get the name of their commanding officer on your application should a "straightening up" call ever need to be made to them.

For the most part (and I come from a long line of military folks, including having a youngest son who is a Navy veteran and a long history of working with vets in my local VA Medical Center) we've had good luck renting to veterans.

Gail

You screen veterans like anyone else and always verify their info. They put on the application, and if they say they are going to be transfer ask to see the transfer orders and call to verify. If they damage your property, you go after them like anyone else.


Joe Gore

Hi David: I recently had an active military tenant get deployed.  The one thing I would make sure to be aware of next time is the decreased amount of time you have to find a new tenant.  The law states the deployed tenant has 30 days then they can leave.  All other state regs seem to apply.  It never occurred to me that I could verify her orders.  However, I was happy to let her go if she wasn't happy.  Not hard to find good renters these days.

Dean

Are you allowed to ask if they expect a transfer during your lease term as part of the application process, before it ever gets to the lease stage?   

If you're looking to market exclusively to active military, take a look at BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) rates in the zip code(s) you invest in and then target your properties for E5s and above. This will help weed out first term folks that are either not very responsible yet or that may be forced to live in barracks and decide to get a place they can't afford anyways with some buddies b/c its more conducive to partying.

I also give a military discount, but make it contingent on the service member establishing an allotment (military term for direct deposit) to me so I don't have to worry about collecting rent. You can also make this discount contingent upon fulfilling the whole term of the lease and not breaking it early for any reason-be sure to explain these terms on the front end. I rented an apartment in 2007 for a few months before I went to Iraq for the first time and the apartment neglected to inform me of these stipulations until I had broken the lease to deploy and ended up keeping part of my deposit or last month's rent (can't remember which) to make up for the difference. I would also check with a lawyer in your area to verify the legality of these practices there.

dean it's 30 days from the day rent is due. So if they tell you aug 2 they have to pay till sept. 31st. If they tell you July 31 they have till sept 1st

Our clientele is mostly military. We have had no real problems. They are like any other group, you need to have an iron clad lease. We have had members try to break the lease for things not under sba. 

I post on postlets, have the same requirements. Only thing different is I also request orders. I read through orders to make sure they aren't on short orders since I do a minimum of a 1 year lease. My blog/website will have a whole section on provisions affecting military. It has been like anything else. A great group but definitely need to do your research.

I would recommend getting their First Sargent and supervisor’s information. I have seen a Supervisor actually drive the troop to the landlord’s office to pay rent on the 1st of every month. I have also seen punishments handed out for damaging Rent houses.

www.arhn.com and www.militarybyowner.com are two sites you can also use to get military tenants.  AHRN is more heavily used since it's free; militarybyowner charges but the most basic ad is quite reasonable and there's far less competition there.

Gail

Wow thanks for the helpful information you all have provided! I greatly appreciate it, I'll be sure to use the resources mentioned :)

Having rented most of the time while in the military, I can tell you that the 30 day notice is often unrealistic. I've always known that a PCS was coming but the exact dates were unknown until about two weeks from when I would have to vacate the property in order to have time to move, drive, find a place to live, etc. This normally isn't an issue so long as I inform the landlord/PM ahead of time but this created a lot of friction with my most recent property manager. I informed them in May that I was moving out in July, gave my 30 notice in the beginning of the 2nd week of July and had to vacate by Sunday. I offered to pay for the full 30 days but that still put everyone in a tizzy. Every time this happened in the past, it wasn't a problem and they just expected rent up to the move out date.

@Sam Albert  

The problem is per the rule it is not 30 days but 30 days from the next pay period from when you give a day. So per the law you would have had to pay till Sept 1st giving notice mid July.. We are also military so I understand the issue with the date unfortunately landlordship is a business.

Worse off for us in this instance was fighting to get a move out inspection so we weren't liable for a property we weren't living in.

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