Terminating your lease can be easy

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Rebecca Saturnio
  • U.S. Air Force Warfare Center
As summer approaches and many of you prepare for a permanent change of station; you may find yourself in a dilemma. You just received PCS orders, but your lease isn't up for another six months.

As a military member, you have protection under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. You can use SCRA to terminate a residential lease for a variety of reasons:

· Entering military service
· Guard or Reserve called to active duty service of 90 days or greater
· Military orders to PCS or Separate
· Deployment of 90 days or greater

To terminate your lease under SCRA, you should immediately give your landlord a written notice to terminate your lease along with a copy of your orders. Make sure you have the employee or landlord sign acknowledging receipt of your notice. A verbal acknowledgement alone may not be enough.

Keep in mind SCRA does not allow you to terminate your lease immediately. You are still responsible for paying one more month's rent after you provide notice. This is why providing notice to your landlord immediately is crucial. If you provide notice on June 5th and your rent was due June 1, you must pay rent for July as well. If you provided notice a few days earlier on May 31, June would be the last month of rent for which you are responsible.

After paying your final month's rent, you are still responsible for any damages to the leased property.

Many landlords have a military clause written into their lease, which may provide additional protection. If your lease provides greater protections than SCRA, you will get the benefit of the lease. If it provides less, you will still get the benefit of SCRA.

SCRA has civil and criminal penalties for certain violations. If you feel your landlord is refusing to follow the requirements of SCRA, seek legal counsel.

If you have any questions about how to terminate your lease or need additional assistance, the Nellis Legal Office can provide you legal assistance. Stop by to pick up a detailed information packet on SCRA or call 702-652-7531 to book an appointment.