As an Emeryville property owner, you must be familiar with the fundamental disparities between renting to members of the military and other types of tenants. When renting to tenants who are members of the U.S. military, there are specific federal laws that impact the way a property owner can legally conduct business. Whether it’s working with tenants who break their lease or are temporarily absent for training, guaranteeing the property is sheltered, or collecting late rental payments. Before renting to military members, you must be aware of what the law says and how it may affect the landlord/tenant relationship. This can help you avoid violating your renter’s rights.
Breaking the Lease
Members of the U.S. military are guarded by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which intends to protect active military personnel and their families with certain financial and legal obligations. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) applies to a variety of instances, like an active member of the military who is renting a house. According to this federal law, landlords are required to permit a tenant to break a lease without penalty if certain requirements are provided.
For instance, if military personnel receive orders of transfer (deploy or induction) more than 35 miles from the property, a discharge, or a loss of life, they can legally break their lease. While honoring a military tenant’s request to break their lease can be tough, by regulation, renters cannot be charged or their security or other deposits withheld for breaking a lease owing to transfers or other service-related scenarios.
Active military members are often required to undertake training in various places all over the country. Contingent upon which branch of the military they are connected with and where they have been stationed, these trainings can last as quick as two weeks or as long as a month or more. If a tenant informs you that they will be out for training, it is important to remember that even an extended absence is not grounds for eviction or other legal action. As long as the tenant intends to return to the property and continues to fulfill the lease terms, a landlord must do the same.
Securing the Property
In the event of a long absence, Emeryville property managers may be concerned about the security of their rental house. Vacant houses tend to attract a wide range of troubles, from vandals to break-ins and beyond. You can check on your property routinely to ensure that everything is clear if you are nearby. But imagine you are unable to do so. In that scenario, other options may help keep your property secure during your tenant’s absence, from security systems to appointing a property management company such as Real Property Management Pacific to look after your property for you.
Collecting Late Rental Payments
Another federal protection the law grants is the requirement to delay eviction proceedings for nonpayment of rent. If your tenant or one of their dependents is staying in the rental house during their active military service, and the rent is $3,851.03 per month or less, then the court should grant the tenant at least 90 days to deal with the problem. The SCRA does not restrict a landlord from serving an eviction notice but may restrict you from taking action against a servicemember tenant or their dependents.
Delayed Civil Court Actions
Ultimately, the SCRA enables active military members to request a stay on any civil court actions that may be filed against them. If you have a legal dispute with your military tenant, the law dictates that they may be eligible to delay that action while on active duty. What’s more, the standard statute of limitations does not operate while a military renter is on active duty. This can dramatically change the regular legal timelines for tenant/landlord disputes, so consider that if any issues lead to a court filing.
Renting to active military tenants necessitates both time and knowledge of the law. For many rental property owners who are ignorant of the law, there are numerous ways to find themselves in legal trouble. However, working with Real Property Management Pacific can be convenient. Our team of Emeryville property managers has experience leasing properties to military tenants and is aware of all relevant federal, state, and local laws. With our guidance, you can better protect your valuable investment and prevent legal complications for you and your tenant. Contact us today for more information.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.