Can a military family get out of their lease if their military contract is ending early?

My husband is currently in the military but is getting an early separation. His paperwork has yet to be finalized but we thought we would let our landlords know a little in advance. We are stationed in California but our home of record is Alabama. When letting our landlords know of the situation we were told that we are to pay them $500, are liable to pay for advertising, liable to pay rent until our lease ends and are liable to make the place livable (including paint, cleaning services, etc.). We thought that we were covered by the “Servicemembers Civil Relief Act” but I can’t seem to find anything on getting out of the military, only deployments. Is there anything that protects us?

Asked on November 28, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) prevents members of the military or their families from being sued pending deployment or in the military while on active duty.

With respect to housing rental, if a member of a military family is transferred or deployed to another area from where the rental is located for more than 90 days, the SCRA allows the military family to terminate their lease with the landlord without any recourse as to any remaining time on the lease.

Since your husband seems to be getting his discharge from the military per the question that you have written, the SCRA will not assist you with the lease you have with the landlord as to additional time remaining on it.

I suggest that you carefully read the lease you have as to your obligations owed the landlord for an early termination of it. Possibly the landlord may be willing to simply sign a release as to you and your family as to any further obligations under the lease when you actually move it.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) prevents members of the military or their families from being sued pending deployment or in the military while on active duty.

With respect to housing rental, if a member of a military family is transferred or deployed to another area from where the rental is located for more than 90 days, the SCRA allows the military family to terminate their lease with the landlord without any recourse as to any remaining time on the lease.

Since your husband seems to be getting his discharge from the military per the question that you have written, the SCRA will not assist you with the lease you have with the landlord as to additional time remaining on it.

I suggest that you carefully read the lease you have as to your obligations owed the landlord for an early termination of it. Possibly the landlord may be willing to simply sign a release as to you and your family as to any further obligations under the lease when you actually move it.


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