Can I break my lease if I am joining the military?

UPDATED: Aug 8, 2011

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Can I break my lease if I am joining the military?

I have 3 other roommates and we all signed a lease for a house. After many issues and financial problems I have decided that joining the military will benefit me greatly. Can I legally terminate my lease if I have government documents stating that I have committed to the United States Military?

Asked on August 8, 2011 Arizona


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Under the SMCRA (Service Members’ Civil Relief Act), a member of the military can break their lease upon receipt of permanent change of station orders or upon receipt of orders deploying them for at least 90 days. In such a case, a landlord cannot refuse to allow the tenant to leave. However, the tenant who is either moving or being deployed is still responsible for damages to the residence beyond normal wear and tear.

In order to legally terminate a lease (based on the above), the military member/tenant must provide the landlord with written notice and a copy of the orders, which they can deliver to the landlord either in person or by mail certified mail, return receipt requested.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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