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Service Member Civil Relief Act

By | 628th Air Base Wing Judge Advocate Office/315th Airlift Wing Judge Advocate Office | April 10, 2015

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Upcoming deployment or permanent change of station?  Most of us know all too well the stressors and difficulties that come with a move.  Whether 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 concerns can be mitigated with proper education and planning.  SCRA is a federal statute containing a series of provisions that are 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 90 days or more.  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 landlord's address..  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 of 180 days or more.  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 memorandum for record  from the member's Commanding Officer is sufficient.  Please contact your First Sergeant or the legal office to obtain a MFR 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 MFR from CO).  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 by appointment on Tuesdays from noon to 3 p.m. and on Thursdays by appointment from 8 to 10 a.m.  Legal Assistance is available at the Naval Weapons Station on a walk-in basis Mondays from 8 to 11 a.m. (please arrive by 10:30 a.m.) and on Fridays by appointment in Building 206 at the WS from 8 to 11 a.m. Please call 843-963-5502 or 843-794-7500 to schedule all appointments.

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