• Service Members Civil Relief Act
  • March 30, 2012 | Author: S. Joshua Kahane
  • Law Firm: Glankler Brown, PLLC - Memphis Office
  • The Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) a/k/a H.R. 100, signed into law on December 19, 2003, by then President George W. Bush, includes provisions which protect service members from evictions during the course of their active service.

    If a service member is (1) leasing an apartment, (2) the apartment is in the name of the service member, and (3) the service member has put management on notice of their active status, SCRA protects the service member who's monthly rent is $2,400.00 or less, from being evicted for a period of time if/when the service member has been deployed for active duty.

    SCRA does not absolutely prevent a landlord from serving a termination notice for th non-payment of rent; but if the landlord knows of the military status, the landlord when filing suit must tell the court that the tenant is an active service member and the judge will then decide whether the service member’s status in the military materially affects his or her ability to pay the rent.

    If the judge determines that status in the military materially affects the service member’s ability to pay the rent, the judge may stay the eviction for up to three months. If the judge decides otherwise, the lawsuit will continue and may result in an eviction.

    In order for a service member to exercise his/her protection under the SCRA, the service member must demonstrate the following:

    1. The lease was entered into prior to the commencement of active duty service.

    2. The service member put management on notice of the military status at the time the lease was signed.

    3. The lease was signed by or on behalf of the service member.

    4. The apartment is occupied by either the active duty service member or the service member's dependents.

    5. Military service materially affects his or her ability to pay rent.

    6. The service member is currently in military service or was called to active-duty for a period of 180 days or more.

    The service member must promptly deliver written notice to the landlord any time he/she is called to active duty or receives orders for active duty and must provide a copy of the reassignment or deployment order to management in order to implicate the protection. Oral notice is not sufficient.