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Including a Military Clause in Your Lease Agreement

  
  
  

Military relocation is a unique aspect of the rental side of the real estate market. Anyone whoMilitary Clause has been waiting for a hard copy of orders knows that it makes it very difficult to search for housing at your next duty station. I am certain there is no shortage of military families that have stories about a last minute change of orders and the upheaval that ensued afterward. In fact, we recently received an email from one of our customers who faced a difficult situation due to a change of anticipated orders.

Debbie had written to us explaining that she and her husband were anticipating a move to Ohio once he accepted a government job post retirement. With Debbie being a planner and excited about their upcoming move, she began to look for her perfect home in March for a July move. She found a fantastic home through MilitaryByOwner.com and quickly signed a lease agreement. Looking for a rental home? Read our “10 Tips for Finding the Perfect Rental Home”.

Unfortunately, the job that would take them to Ohio fell through and now they were faced with the difficult task of notifying the homeowner that they would have to break the lease. Debbie and her husband had put down a $1900 deposit to secure the home and were hopeful that the homeowner would be sympathetic to their situation and return the money once they were able to rent the home to another family. However, this was not the case and they have yet to have the security deposit returned to them. While Debbie feels that she may have jumped the gun and began her home search too early, something would have protected them in the event that their orders changed.

While the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act states the parameters of terminating a lease agreement, including the clause directly in your lease agreement is the easiest way to protect you as both a tenant and a landlord. The Military Clause clearly states what you and the landlord agree to in the event something changes with your status. It is also important to make sure that if you are married, that the Military Clause covers your spouse in the event that you are not in a position to execute the termination of lease. Here is a sample of a standard Military Clause.

IN THE EVENT the Tenant is, or hereafter becomes, a member of the United States Armed Forces on extended active duty and hereafter the Tenant receives permanent change of station orders to depart from the area where the Premises are located, or is relieved from active duty, retires or separates from the military, or is ordered into military housing, then in any of these events, the Tenant may terminate this lease upon giving thirty (30) days written notice to the Landlord.

The Tenant shall also provide to the Landlord a copy of the official orders or a letter signed by the tenant's commanding officer, reflecting the change, which warrants termination under this clause. The Tenant will pay prorated rent for any days (he/she) occupy the dwelling past the first day of the month.

The damage/security deposit will be promptly returned to the tenant, provided there are no damages to the premises.

Landlord and tenants; please take the time to review the laws of the state where the home is located and include the appropriate verbiage in your lease agreement. Hopefully this will ease the pain if you find yourself in a difficult situation similar to Debbie. As she summed it up, “Military moves can be very uncertain and it is hard to know if situations will change. It was an extremely stressful situation”. 

 

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Comments

Well my six months special is over an not one person looked at my house even taking a $60,000.00 loss. I* guess it's up to the voters now let's hope for a real change, what we have now surely isn't working.
Posted @ Monday, September 10, 2012 6:36 PM by Michael James
Michael, 
 
We are very sorry to hear that you were not successful in selling your home through your advertisement with us. While it appears that the real estate market is beginning to recover, it may be a much slower process then those of us with homes for sale would hope for.  
 
We thank you for advertising with us and certainly hope that you will be able to find the perfect buyer for your home very soon.
Posted @ Tuesday, October 09, 2012 7:04 PM by Monica
I rented from a tag team landlord and realtor named Jaqueline Masson and Peter Spurr. Peter seems fine and not knowing of Jackie's little security deposit game. She has rentals in the area. And violates California Statutes 1950 and 1953 and kept at least my security deposit unlawfully. She advertises on this web site. If you want to rent a house with no insulation, freeze your behind off, give proper notice and leave a spotless house, then have her keep your security deposit unlawfully, then, by all means, rent from this woman. But count me OUT!
Posted @ Tuesday, February 19, 2013 7:53 PM by Jennifer Milus
Can this be reversed? What if the home-owner/landlord is the active duty member and they move back to the area. They tenants are mid-term in their lease. Can the owner force the renter to move to allow owner to move back into their home?
Posted @ Sunday, March 31, 2013 8:21 PM by Ida B
@ Ida B - Absolutely! The military clause is there to protect both the tenant and the landlord if the landlord is active duty and needs to move back into the home due to military orders. We had to use the military clause in our lease agreement with our tenant when we moved back to the Virginia area. It was not easy to notify them that the terms of their lease would be cut short, but it was the only decision would could make for our family. They were also military which aided in the understanding and compassion of the situation. Because military life is unpredictable, including a military clause in a lease agreement whether the tenant or landlord is the best way to guard against unforeseen circumstances.
Posted @ Friday, April 12, 2013 10:40 AM by Monica
So I was in the marine corps for my 5 year contract and now I've hit my EAS, does the military clause cover me from my leasing agreement? Since technically the are orders for me to head back home I'm guessing they would but I just want clarification. Thanks.
Posted @ Tuesday, September 17, 2013 9:29 AM by Aaron
@Jennifer - We are sorry to hear about your rental experience. If you would like to speak directly with us, we would appreciate the opportunity to talk with you. You can contact us at 1-866-604-9126.  
 
Thank you!
Posted @ Friday, October 11, 2013 8:32 AM by Monica
@Aaron - Your situation certainly does sounds as though it would be covered under a military clause if one was included in your Lease Agreement, however, this may be better answered by your base legal officers to ensure that you are protected from any remaining time on your lease. 
 
Good luck to you and thank you for your service.
Posted @ Friday, October 11, 2013 8:34 AM by Monica
I used the Military Clause mentioned in the blog (I've rented via MBO to 3 tenants over the last 7 years). My current tenant told me he was retiring from the Army and buying a home nearby. He has 60 days left on his lease but he said he was invoking the 30 day notice per the Military Clause so wasn’t responsible for the last month. When I received a copy of his orders, I was surprised to see that he had already retired the month before. At the time of his notice, he was not in the Army. Is he able to do that? Can he walk away with a month left on the lease?
Posted @ Thursday, March 06, 2014 6:51 PM by Amy
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