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Legal Protections for Servicemembers on Active duty

Termination of Residential Leases.

Servicemembers can break a lease when they go onto active duty, if the lease was entered into before going onto active duty.

In addition, the law allows a servicemember to terminate a residential lease entered into while in the military, if the member receives permanent change of station (PCS) orders, or orders to deploy for a period of not less than 90 days.

This protection covers "lease of premises occupied, or intended to be occupied, by a servicemember or a servicemember's dependents for a residential, professional, business, agricultural, or similar purpose."

To break a lease under these provisions, the servicemember must make the request in writing, and must include a copy of their orders (orders placing them on active duty, PCS orders, or deployment orders). The member may deliver the notification by hand, by commercial carrier, or by mail return receipt requested.

For a lease that requires monthly rent, the earliest termination date is 30 days after the first date on which the next payment is due,after notification of termination of lease.

For example, if you pay the rent on the first of every month, and your landlord gets the notification on January the 15th, the lease ends on the first of March (the next rent is due February the first, and 30 days later is March first).

If you pay the rent under any other arrangement like once or twice a year, the earliest termination of the lease is the last day of the month, following the month in which the notice is given. So, if notice is given on 20 January, the earliest termination date would be February 31 .

if there are other people on the lease they will have to make up the military member's share of the rent or find another roommate. The SCRA gives the military member the right to terminate his/her own portion of the lease early, but the law does not require the landlord to decrease the amount of total rent for the property, nor does the law protect remaining non-military roommates unless they are the member's legal dependents.

Automobile Leases.

You may terminate automobile leases,if you get an auto lease before going on active duty, you can request termination of the lease when you go onto active duty for at least 180 continuous days. Also, military members making a permanent change of station (PCS) move may terminate an auto lease.

This only covers "lease of a motor vehicle used, or intended to be used, by a servicemember or a servicemember's dependents for personal or business transportation."

To terminate the lease, you must make the request in writing including copy of orders. it can be delivered by hand, by commercial carrier, or by mail return receipt requested. The vehicle must be returned to the lessor within 15 days of the termination notice.

The lessor can't charge any early termination fee but nothing on the law prevents the charge of taxes, title and registration fees, reasonable charges to the lessee for excess wear, use and mileage or any other charges in accordance with the terms of the lease that are due at termination of the lease.

Evictions from leased housing.

Service member have a protection from eviction under the SSCRA. The property must be occupied by the service member or his/her dependents for the purpose of housing, and the rent can not exceed $2,400 (The amount is adjusted each year depending on the inflation rate). The servicemember or dependent who has received notice of an eviction must submit a request to the court for protection under the SSCRA. If the court finds that the service member’s military duties have materially affected his ability to pay his rent timely, the judge may order a stay of the eviction proceeding for up to 3 months or make any other “just” order.

Installment Contracts.

The SCRA gives certain protections against repossessions for installment contracts. If the contract was entered into before going on active duty and at least one payment was made before that time, the creditor cannot repossess the property, while the member is on active duty, nor can they terminate the contract for breach, without a court order.

6% Interest Rate.

If a service member’s military obligation has affected his/her ability to pay on financial obligations such as credit cards, loans, mortgages, etc., the service member can have his/her interest rate capped at 6% for the duration of the service member’s military obligation. This also include collections but debts entered into after going on active duty are not protected.

In order for an obligation or liability of a servicemember to be subject to the interest rate limitation, the servicemember must provide to the creditor written notice and a copy of the military orders calling the servicemember to military service and any orders further extending military service, not later than 180 days after the date of the servicemember's termination or release from military service.

Upon receipt of notice, the creditor must reduce the interest rate to a maximum of 6 percent, retroactive and effective the first day of active duty

The law unambiguously states that no interest above 6 percent can accrue for credit obligations incurred before going onto active duty and any portion above 6 percent is permanently forgiven. The monthly payment must be reduced by the amount of interest saved during the covered period.