JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
Upcoming deployment or PCS? Most of us know all too well the stressors and challenges that come with a move. When it's a last minute tasking or assignment notification the challenges only multiply. Thanks to the Service Member Civil Relief Act (SCRA) some of the fiscal challenges can be mitigated with proper education and planning. SCRA is a federal law containing a series of provisions designed (and continually amended) to protect service members while they are answering their nation's call.
A deploying member may terminate a residential lease if they are tasked to support a military operation for a period of not less than 90 days. Service members must deliver written notice to the landlord, along with a copy of their orders. Delivery must be by hand, private business carrier, or mailed, return receipt requested, to the address designated by the landlord. The effective date of termination after proper notice has been given is 30 days after the first date on which the next rental payment is due. If a member wishes to terminate an automobile lease they must be deploying for a period not less than 180 days. Notice must be given in the same manner as terminating a residential lease and the vehicle must be returned within 15 days of delivery of notice. If a member has not received his/her military orders, a signed letter from the member's commanding officer is sufficient. Please contact your first sergeant or the legal office to obtain a letter template for you and your commanding officer to complete.
The protections in place for a PCS are very similar and require the same notice and paperwork (military orders/signed letter from the commanding officer). However, to break a vehicle lease there are a few differences. Active duty members may terminate their automobile lease if, after they entered the lease, they received military orders for a change of permanent station from the continental United States (CONUS) to a location outside the continental United States (OCONUS) or a PCS from an OCONUS state to any location outside of that state. Activated reservists and National Guardsmen may terminate automobile leases, if the lease was entered into prior to being activated and the orders are for at least 180 continuous days.
This article is not intended to replace seeking legal advice from an attorney. Legal assistance is provided at the Air Base on a walk-in basis on Tuesdays from 1200-1500 (military in uniform have priority from 1200-1300). Legal Assistance is available at the Naval Weapons Station on a walk-in basis Mondays from 0800-1100 (please arrive by 1030) and on Fridays by appointment from 0800-1100. Please call 843-963-5502 or 843-794-7500 to schedule all appointments.