Time for yet another military move? If you plan to live off post, be sure that you thoroughly read your lease. We all know the military is famous for unexpected orders, whether it be for PCS or TDY. With a normal lease, your landlord is under no obligation to let you break your lease just because you have received new orders.
When you enter into a lease agreement, be sure your lease has a military clause in it. This clause differs from state to state but generally allows you to break your lease under certain conditions because you or your spouse are in the military.
Typical clauses allow you to terminate your lease without penalty if any of the following occur:
1 – The soldier receives a temporary duty assignment outside of the area for 60 days or more
2 – The soldier separates from the military
3 – The soldier is killed in action or missing in action
4 – The soldier receives orders for a permanent change of station
Some apartments or landlords will let you add a clause that allows you to break the lease if you are offered military housing but this is uncommon.
Be sure that the military clause covers everyone who signs the lease. Some couples have run into problems when the apartment complex only lets the military person out of the lease and would not let the military spouse out of it. Be sure it is explicitly stated that the entire lease is cancelled and not just that the military service person is covered by the clause.
The housing office can help you with this if you are unsure of the wording of your lease. Do NOT sign without this clause. You never know when the military may decide to move you and you do not want to be stuck with monstrous fees if you have to move. Also, if your spouse is deployed, this clause allows you to break the lease and move back home if you would like.
Be advised that in many cases there are certain stipulations such as giving at least a 30 days written notice. The military clause does not exempt you from giving this notice. It simply aids you in avoiding penalties normally associated with breaking a lease such as fees or paying the rent for the remainder of the lease term.
Be smart and do your homework when signing any lease!
Stacey Abler is an Army Wife and owner of the website, http://www.marriedtothearmy.com.
In addition, she also operates several Cafepress stores - http://www.cafepress.com/soldierswife for Army families and http://www.cafepress.com/soldierswife2 for Navy, Marine and Air Force families.