Jan E. Beran, Attorney at Law

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Home > Areas of Law Index > Landlord Tenant Index > Soldiers and Sailors Tenants

Landlords and the Military Tenant

Federal Law protects military personal and in certain situations allows the military tenant to terminate leases. The law also applies to the dependents and spouses of the military person.
  1. Historical Perspective.
    1. Legislatures and the courts have recognized the need to protect the legal rights of military persons.
    2. The federal act is called the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940.
    3. Purpose: to suspend enforcement of civil liabilities incertain cases of persons in the military service of the United States in order to enable such persons to devote their entire energy to the defense needs of the nation 50 U.S.C. App. 510.
    4. The act provides for
      of enforcement not termination.
    5. Does not affect criminal proceedings
    6. Applies only to particular cases and situations, not every lease is affected.
  2. Application of Act
    1. Protects all persons on active duty.
    2. Protects all persons undergoing training or education preliminary to induction
    3. Protects dependents
    4. Courts may provide protection to cosigners and guarantors of the military person
    5. Protects enlisted reservists ordered to active duty.
  3. Landlord and Tenant Matters
    1. Leases
      1. Applies in these situations
        1. Lease entered into prior to entry into military service
        2. Military person occupied dwelling
        3. Military person delivers written notice to the landlord at anytime after the member enters into the service.
      2. Does not apply if entered into lease while on active duty. Thus military tenant can be held responsible for lease through the end of the term. A military tenant should negotiate an escape clause in the lease.
      3. Method of Termination
        1. For monthly rental agreements, lease terminates 30 days after the first date on which the next rental payment is due after the date of the notice.
        2. All other leases terminate the last day of the month following the month in which the notice of termination is delivered.
        3. Rent to be prorated to the end of the occupancy, and prepaid rent to be refunded.
    2. Evictions
  4. Miscellaneous
    1. Penalty for violating the act a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prision and a $1,000 fine.
    2. A landlord may petition a court for a declaratory judgment prior to a termination to attempt to limit the applicability of the act.

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