We’ve talked about the benefits of the Service Member Civil Relief Act before as it pertains to credit cards and interest on debts incurred prior to joining the military. But if you are currently having trouble with a landlord or lease due to the DOD’s stop travel order, some aspects of the SCRA might help you with the situation. As most of you know, the Department of Defense issued a travel ban that continues through May 11, 2020 and will likely get extended. Service members that were about to PCS may have entered into new lease agreements prior to moving, leaving them paying rent on two properties at once.
Under the SCRA, service members can terminate their lease agreement with permanent-change-of-station or deployment orders that exceed 90 days. When the stop travel ban was issued, PCS orders were nullified and no longer apply until after the travel ban is complete. As a result, service members with new leases at their next duty station should be able to negotiate with their land lords or property managers to break those leases if it requires them to PCS to occupy the new property.
Service members caught in a leasing dispute should first negotiate with land lords and property managers and then address the situation with their chain of command and legal providers in the event that they can’t reach an agreement. In the event that the property manger or land lord refuses to break a lease, service members can request new sets of orders that enables them to break their lease based on the SCRA. For those in the Army, Army G-1 has released an ALARACT that gives its Soldiers access to example letters to help them cancel lease agreements or pause rent obligations.
Additionally, service members with moves impacted by the pandemic may receive Hardship Duty Pay- Restriction of Movement (HDP-ROM). Service members may receive $100 per day for up to 15 days each month if they are ordered to self-isolate, but are unable to do so at home or in government quarters (in place of per-diem). For details on HDP-ROM take a look at the fact sheet here for a full look at the DOD personnel, pay, and benefits impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. $
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