Service-members Civil Relief Act

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 July 2011 04:03 Written by Chris Griswold Monday, 1 March 2010 09:08

The women and men who proudly serve in our armed forces today are a special breed.  We owe them, both past and present, a great debt for our many freedoms.  However, if you’re a property owner, property manager, banker or anyone else transacting business out there, there are a few things you probably want/need to know about the “Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003” before inking your next deal with one of our soldiers.  Read more below to save yourself needless trouble….

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

As you’d expect, there are a few deserved perks that go along with one of the world’s toughest jobs – serving in our military.  However, from a real estate and general business vantage point, it’s good to be aware of a few things contained within the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, a Federal Law enacted in 2003 (just so your bases are covered).  Remember, the “Act” applies both to active duty and active duty reserves….

Default Judgments. You only get these against a Servicemember (“SM”) if you go through a special process.

Fines and Penalties Under Contracts. If an action is “stayed” under the Act, you cannot receive penalties against the SM during the stay.  Furthermore, if the SM was in military service at the time of the breach of contract, the court may reduce or even eliminate the fines and penalties associated with breach.

Residential Evictions. Subject to special circumstances, you can’t evict a SM (including their family) during that SM’s military service if the premises is used (or intended to be used) as the SM’s primary residence.

Purchases/Leases of Real/Personal Property. If a deposit or installment has been paid by the SM before entering military service upon any real/person property, the contract or lease may not be terminated for any breach occurring either before or during the SM’s military service; nor can the property be repossessed absent a court order.

Waiver of Rights Under the Act. In general, with some exceptions, a SM may waive any of the rights and protections provided by the Act.

Keep in mind, the Act is much longer than what’s listed above.

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