Allow Early Lease Termination for Tenants Complying with Military Orders
If you have a tenant who is a military service member and needs to terminate a lease due to military orders for relocation, you should return any prepaid rent and security deposits due or you may be in violation of federal law, specifically the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
In September 2009, the Justice Department announced a settlement in its first lawsuit involving a landlord-tenant matter under the SCRA. The complaint alleged that an owner violated the SCRA by failing to return prepaid rent and security deposits to a resident, a U.S. Air Force colonel, who had terminated her lease early to comply with military orders to relocate to Georgia. Under the settlement, the owner agreed to pay the resident a total of $5,600 in damages and refrain from engaging in future violations of the SCRA [U.S. v. Ferdows Akhavan, Virginia, Sept. 2009].