Service members are protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act if they need to break their lease on account of a deployment or PCS.
Breaking your lease can hurt your credit score, especially if you don’t pay the leftover balance when you move out. Working with your landlord to break your lease can help you avoid damaging your credit.
Understanding the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
Your protection under the relief act begins on the date you enter active duty and generally ends between 30 and 90 days after the date of discharge from active duty. This applies to:
- Active-duty members of the regular forces
- National Guard members serving active duty status under federal orders
- Reservists called to active duty
- Coast Guard members serving on active duty in support of the armed forces
Terminating a lease
To get out of a housing lease, under the relief act and without penalty, you must:
- Prove you signed the lease before you entered active duty, and that you will remain on active duty for a minimum of 90 days.
- Provide your landlord written notice of your intent to break the lease and a copy of your military orders, ideally no fewer than 30 days in advance.
If you signed a lease or rental agreement after you began active-duty service, you may still be able to terminate it without penalty under the relief act if you:
- Received permanent change of station or deployment orders that will last for more than 90 days
- Provide written notice to your landlord and a copy of your orders, preferably with at least a 30-day notice
You are required to pay rent for only those months before the lease is terminated. If rent has been paid in advance, the landlord must prorate and refund the unearned portion. If a security deposit was required, it must be returned to you when the lease is terminated.
If you are successful, your lease should end 30 days after your next monthly rent payment is due.
Make sure there is a “military clause” in your residential lease
Familiarize yourself with the language in your residential lease. The document may include a military clause, which gives you additional protection and allows you to break the lease under certain circumstances. Such clauses are common in housing leases near military installations. If your lease doesn’t have a military clause, ask your landlord or management company if one can be added.
If you find that you have a collection from a prior residential lease on your credit report, call Veterans Credit Repair to see how we can help you. The consultation is Free! 877-483-8273