Our servicemen and women make sacrifices every day, and because of the nature of their service and the risk that they put themselves into on a daily basis, the United States has certain benefits and extended rights in place for military personnel. Some of these are in honor of their service, such as getting to board a passenger aircraft first, but many rights are put into place for practical reasons, such as rights regarding mortgage payments and termination of lease protected under landlord-tenant law both nationally and in Washington.
Being in the military, you know nothing is permanent, but you also are never quite sure how temporary a situation will be. In addition, when you are serving our country, you want to be able to devote all attention to that task, and not have to worry about trial dates, taxes, payments, or your lease. Because of this, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) was instituted to protect soldiers’ rights and their need to leave at a moment’s notice, abandoning their civil obligations. In addition to this act, the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act, signed into Washington State legislation in 1973, also protects servicemembers renting a property in Washington.
This acts protects the rights of the servicemember, including rent and leases. These rights are detailed in Title III and specify the following (assuming there is no court order):
- A landlord cannot evict a servicemember or their dependents while the tenant is serving in the military, as long as the monthly rent is not more than $2,400.
- When a person enters military service and purchases property, including a car, this property cannot be repossessed and the contract for sale cannot be terminated.
- After entering into military service, a lessee may terminate a lease contract whenever they so choose. This includes both residence and vehicle leases and the termination of the contract relieves all dependents of the responsibility of the lease.
There are certain stipulations and conditions to each of these, as well as more detailed rights listed in this act, so contact your tenant lawyer at the Law Office of Daniel Pizzaro for more information about your rights as a military person.
This Washington State act also details and reinforces the right that a tenant who is enlisted in the military may terminate a lease with less than 20 days’ notice. This right is also given to the servicemember’s spouse or dependent. However, a written proof of orders may be necessary in order to do so. These orders must show that the tenant is unable to fulfill the contract agreement due to relocation or other instructions.
Our landlord-tenant lawyers understand the law in Washington, as well as the federal laws, so that you know you have an expertise you can trust. From the moment you call us, we are passionate about fighting for your rights, especially for our military clients. We believe that you have sacrificed much for our sake, and you deserve the same treatment from us. Contact us today to learn more about the military exceptions to tenant law, and see how we can help you fight for your rights!