Housing Tips For Military Renters

Searching for rental housing is different for service men and women and their families. We’ve compiled some tips for finding housing, as well as information about your rights to terminate your lease.

Searching for Housing

Where to Look

If you’re going to be living off base or post, you may be able to find housing through word of mouth, or through connections, you may have in the area you’re moving to.

If you don’t have any leads and you on a time crunch, then vacancy listing websites will give you the most options. Here are some rental listing websites to check out:

Avoiding Rental Scams

  • If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is

Be cautious if the listing offers an unrealistically low rental price with little or no deposit, requires no tenant screening application, or accepts pets, short-term leases, or is furnished for no additional fee.

  • Read the Listing Carefully

Numerous spelling and/or grammar errors in the listing could indicate a scam. Also, check to see if the pictures of the property match the description.

  • Speak with the Landlord or Rental Agent Before Applying to the Property

When you speak with them, you can verify that they are who they say they are and check for inconsistencies in property details. Be cautious if a landlord or rental agent is refusing to speak with you over the phone.

  • See the Property before Sending Money

If you’re trying to secure housing before you make the move, you may not be able to see the property in person. Check to see if any of your military contacts are currently stationed in the area you’re looking to move to. They may be able to confirm that the property exists, or even do a showing for you.

Be wary if the landlord asks you to make a payment and in return, they will mail you the key, send money to a location that is not in the local area of the property that is available, or make a payment to an account that is outside the United States.

Terminating a Lease

Under section 535 of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, a military member has the right to terminate a lease, if:

  • the tenant enters military service (includes a reservist being called to active duty);
  • or the tenant receives military orders for a PCS move, or to deploy, or as an individual in support of a military operation, with a military unit for a period of not less than 90 days.

The military tenant who terminates a lease under the SCRA must do so by giving the landlord written notice of the termination of the lease, accompanied by a copy of the military tenant’s orders. The notice must be “delivered” to the landlord by hand, private business carrier, or by U.S. mail, return receipt requested.

The lease terminates “30 days after the first date on which the next rental payment is due and payable after the date on which the notice…is delivered.”

For example, if a tenant delivers notice to the landlord on the 20th of the May, and normally pays rent on the 1st of each month, the lease ends on the 1st of July, (the tenant must pay for June’s rent).

We hope that you can use these tips to make the transition smoother. What other advice would you give to other military renters on finding housing?

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