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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Lawyer
Category: Military Law
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Experience:  Lawyer and current JAG officer.
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breaking lease being chaptered under chap18

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Im stationed at Fort Drum and on June 15 i was told that i was being chaptered out of the army under chapter 18. I told my land lord on June 17 that i was being separated from the army and that i was giving him my 30 day notice. he said he was fine with it I than told him i would be out of the house by the 17 of July. On the 1st of July i called him asking when he wanted to come by so i could give him the pro rated rent for July 1st to the 17th. He than said that he was keeping my security deposit for the rent of July i told him that according to the military clause in the lease that i signed he cant do that and that he has to give me the security deposit barring any damages to the house after July 17th. He than stated that he could keep me there since my wife signed the lease as well ( we are dual military) which is a lie i am the only one who signed the lease. now he is stating that since the memo signed by my commander on 18 of June states that i will be out of the army on or about August 1st that i have to stay there till August 1st. I have tried talking to him granted all but one of our conversations is all text so i have proof of what he is stating what is my next course of action.


Military Termination Clause ( in lease)

in the event, the Tenant is, or hereafter becomes, a member of the United states Armed Forces on extended active duty of 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 ot 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. Any security deposit will be promptly returned to the tenant, provided there are no damages to the premises



Thank you for your question today, I look forward to assisting you. I have nearly 20 years of legal experience in various disciplines, including JAG.


Ok. Here is the problem. Under the SCRA, legally you would likely have to pay through the end of July anyway.


The SCRA rules allowing you to break a lease based on orders of separation states that the earliest you can be released from the lease is 30 days following the next regularly scheduled rent payment following your notice.


You gave notice on June 17, and I'm assuming that your next rent payment would have been due at the beginning of the next month...July. So, your lease break wouldn't legally be effective until July 30th under the SCRA and you'd have to pay through that period for rent.


That is important, because it basically takes the Department of Justice off the table as someone that you can use here.


If your lease says something different than the SCRA, essentially allowing you to break the lease more quickly, that is a matter of contract law and not of military law. That will depend entirely on the wording of your military clause within the contract/lease itself and your recourse would be to sue the landlord in state court (small claims most likely in order to reduce costs).


My reading of the contract is agreement with how you read it, but again, this isn't a military law issue. You'll have to threaten suit in state court to resolve the contract dispute, which is what this really is.


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