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LocalHero

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #1 
I have a tenant who is in the Air Force.  His current lease runs til March 31 2019 and he just emailed me:
My military contract ends July 10th, I’ve got orders in hand, and they will be moving me back home. What will I need to do as far as breaking the lease goes?

We used the SC Assoc Of Realtor's Lease which includes this clause:

MILITARY CLAUSE: If the Tenant is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, stationed in the _______________________ area, and shall receive permanent change of station orders out of the _______________________ area, Tenant may, upon presentation of a copy of said orders of transfer to the Landlord, along with thirty (30) days written notice of intent to vacate and payment of all rent to the expiration date of such written notice, and any miscellaneous charges in arrears, terminate this Rental Agreement. Normal enlistment termination or other type discharge from Armed Forces, unless due to conditions beyond the service member's control, or acceptance of government quarters is not a permanent change of station and is not justification for lease termination. Withholding knowledge of pending transfer or discharge at time of entry into this Rental Agreement voids any consideration or protection offered by this section.

As I read this, the clause does not give him a get-out-of-lease-free-card since he is simply ending his stint with the AF as an honorable discharge.   Is anyone familiar with this clause and am I interpreting it correctly?   He sent me a copy of his "Separation Orders" and there's nothing in there that suggests this is a reassignment or that it was unexpected.
AccidentalRental

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Posts: 99
Reply with quote  #2 
It appears that you have the right to refuse his request to terminate the lease under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) but I would look at it differently.

Is this an opportunity to rent the property for more and be the hero landlord?

If rents have been rising in your market and July/August is peak season, you might want to consider letting him out of his lease anyway.  He gets what he needs and you get a higher rent (and maybe a reputation for being a great landlord!). 

Just be sure to draft a termination agreement stating that you mutually agree to terminate the lease and it's not based on the SCRA.  This way, you can control the terms of the termination (number of showings, exact dates, etc.).

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LocalHero

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #3 
Yes, I don't have any reason to make it contentious, he's been a good tenant to date and I'm sorry to see him go.   I will let him know that I'll work with him on the lease and yes, I will look to bump the rent up a little bit (probably from $1250 to $1300).   

I appreciate your confirmation on my reading of the SCRA clause.  I've never been in the military and while I was aware that the military clause was in the contract, I've never actually dealt with it before.
AccidentalRental

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Posts: 99
Reply with quote  #4 
That was my take on it anyway.  I've never dealt with it myself.  You might wan to check with another local landlord or realtor to be sure.
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LLinVA

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Posts: 365
Reply with quote  #5 
You said in his email he said, "...they will be moving me back home." Does this mean he is being reassigned to a base in/near his hometown, or is he being discharged? That sounds like they are ordering him to go to a specific base and it happens to be his hometown. In that case, I think he is covered by that clause. If this is not the case and he just worded his email weird and he is being discharged, then I think the other answer is perfect. 
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,761
Reply with quote  #6 
I have to agree with VA LL.  The tenant says he "has orders in hand" and that they are "Moving me back".  If he has orders that move him someplace else, that should qualify for the federal law.
LocalHero

Registered:
Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #7 
OHlandlord, You need to re-read my first post... he is not being reassigned but is choosing to leave the military voluntarily.  Honorable discharge.  Apparently it is part of his arrangement with the AF that they pay to move him back home.   It has nothing to do with him being ordered to move somewhere else.
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