Every tenant signs a lease when a property is rented, and landlords expect their tenants to fulfill the terms of that lease. However, if you’re renting a property to a member of the military and that person gets orders to leave, you’re required to let them out of the lease.
Both landlords and tenants need to understand the legal requirements of vacating a home before the lease is over because of military duties.
Landlords: Letting your Military Tenants Go
Your military tenants are protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which means that if they need to break their lease due to PCS orders, deployment, or other military orders, you have to let them go without penalty. This applies to active-duty members of the military as well as reservists and members of the National Guard who are called to active duty. Communicate effectively with your military tenants so you know when they’re leaving, and you can prepare to market and turnover the property.
Tenants: Preparing to Move
As a military tenant covered by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, you have some responsibilities to your landlord. Provide your landlord with your written intent to vacate, as well as a copy of your military orders at least 30 days from your departure date. Work with your landlord so you leave on good terms. Make sure the property is in excellent condition, and be sure to have your rent paid up until the date of your departure. Follow all move-out instructions that are included in your lease agreement. You’ll still be responsible for any tenant or pet damage, as well as unpaid rent and utility bills or late fees.
Renting Out your Property
If you own a home and you receive military orders to change stations, you may not have the time you need to sell the property. It may be better to rent it out until you return to Chesterfield or decide for sure that you want to sell. Work with a professional property manager to get the property cleaned out and ready for the rental market. Your property manager can lease your home, keep it well-maintained, and communicate with you wherever you are about your plans for the home.
A good lease will include a clause that addresses military tenants. When you’re willing to communicate with each other, landlords and tenants can work together to ensure there isn’t any added stress or confusion for either party when military orders come in.
If you have any questions about this, please contact us at The Wright Choice Richmond Realty Group.