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Can I Break My Lease If I'm in the Military?

Military service members anywhere in the U.S. have the unique option to break their lease if they are deployed elsewhere and need to relocate.

Yes, you can lawfully terminate your lease agreement if you're entering active duty for the first time, or if you're already on active duty and receive orders for a permanent change of station for ninety days or more.

The law that gives you this right is called the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (or SCRA), and it applies to:

  • Active duty service members of any military branch
  • Reserve service members called to active duty
  • Active duty National Guard members on federal orders

When terminating a lease under the SCRA, you'll need to provide written notice to your landlord that includes a copy of your orders from your specific military branch or a written statement from your commanding officer. Then, your lease will end 30 days after the "first date on which the next rental payment is due,” which usually means you’ll need to continue to pay rent for the remainder of the current month and the all of the following month as well.

Having a Military Service Clause in your lease agreement can be really helpful in these situations. While you always have rights under the SCRA as an active duty service member, having a Military Service Clause in your lease agreement can make it easier to invoke your SCRA rights or provide you with additional protections to complement those from the SCRA. For example, such a clause could allow you to break your lease if you are offered housing on-base at a later time, or a promotion elsewhere that doesn’t require active duty status.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.

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