Real estate Q&A: Military tenant broke lease because she was transferred overseas. Can I sue?
BY GARY M. SINGER SUN SENTINEL
NOVEMBER 29, 2018 03:00 AM,
UPDATED NOVEMBER 29, 2018 03:34 PM
Q: I was renting a furnished house for short-term (vacation) rentals. A few months ago, I was approached by an agent who made me a very favorable offer to rent the home annually. We signed a lease, and I got rid of all of the furniture because they had their own. Now the season is upon us, and I was told just before the move-in date that the tenant is in the military and got transferred overseas so they will not be moving in. I am out a lot of money because of this. Can I sue? – Haythem
A: No, not successfully. Because your tenant is active duty military, she is afforded certain legal protections. Several laws protect our service members in their civilian dealings, and the one in play here is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, commonly known as the SCRA. This law allows someone on active duty to terminate a lease if the location of his or her post is permanently changed, or if the person is deployed for more than 90 days. The law also provides certain protections for service members in their other financial dealings.
Although this protection may make it seem like it is a bad idea to rent to the military, many positives outweigh this risk. First, members of our armed services make great tenants and tend to take good care of the homes they rent. (As a disclaimer, I am a veteran and would never have wanted to have a conversation with my executive officer about why I was not a good tenant. All these years later, the thought makes me shudder.)