Understanding the Military Clause in Housing Agreements
Navigating the housing market can be challenging for military members, especially when dealing with the added layer of frequently changing station locations or deployments. A provision known as the “military clause” has been developed to alleviate some of this stress. But what exactly is a military clause?
A military clause is a provision in a rental agreement that allows military members to break their lease without penalties under specific conditions related to their service. In most cases, these conditions include receiving orders for a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) or deployment for a certain period, usually 90 days or more.
Why Is the Military Clause Important?
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) offers some protection to military personnel who need to break their lease due to service requirements. However, it doesn’t cover every possible scenario. The military clause provides additional protection, clearly outlining the terms under which a lease can be terminated without penalty due to military circumstances.
What Should a Military Clause Cover?
While the specifics of a military clause can vary, the U.S. Department of Defense recommends it should cover:
- PCS orders: If a servicemember receives orders to move to a different location, they should be allowed to break their lease.
- Deployment: A lease should be breakable if a servicemember is deployed for a specified period, typically 90 days or more.
- Discharge: If a servicemember is discharged from active duty, they should be allowed to break their lease.
Additionally, some military clauses might cover situations where a servicemember needs to move into base housing from a rental or if they are ordered to live in government quarters.
How to Invoke a Military Clause?
Typically, to invoke a military clause, a written notice along with a copy of the official orders (or a letter from a commanding officer) should be provided to the landlord. It’s recommended to deliver this notice via certified mail, return receipt requested, to ensure it has been received.
While the military clause is beneficial, it’s not automatically included in rental agreements. It’s crucial to ask and negotiate this clause when signing a lease. Military OneSource offers some helpful guidance on this process.
Understanding the intricacies of military clauses can ease the housing process for military families. It offers a safeguard for those sudden, service-related moves, making one aspect of military life a little less challenging.
For legal advice, always consult with a Legal Assistance Attorney or appropriate legal counsel.
Remember, a well-informed servicemember is an empowered servicemember. Here’s to safe and secure housing on every step of your military journey!