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A military clause is a statement in a lease allowing the lease to be broken in the event of a callup to active duty, reassignment, or other issue a service member may encounter. While the law requires landlords to allow military personnel out of leases in specific situations, a military clause provides more protections for members of the military, their housemates, and their families. Such clauses are common in housing around military bases and people are encouraged to read the clause carefully and to request a military clause if a lease does not contain one.
While laws vary, generally speaking, if a member of the military is sent to active duty, reassigned to a different base, injured or killed in action, or separated from the military, a lease can be broken. However, other people on the lease are still liable; if, for example, a soldier is living with roommates, the soldier can be released from the lease without penalty, but the roommates will be liable for the soldier's share of the rent. Likewise, a service member's partner could be held responsible for the lease.
With a military clause, the entire lease is rendered void in special circumstances, for both the service member and anyone else on the lease. Members of the military cannot rampantly break leases without penalty, but they can terminate a lease if they demonstrate that the need to break the agreement is service-related. Military clauses may also allow people to break leases if they are offered base housing. Some may reduce rent obligations if a member of a household leaves while others remain, allowing a person to exit a lease without penalty to other people on the lease.
For landlords, a military clause offers protection by clearly spelling out rights and responsibilities for all parties involved. Service members know the circumstances when they can break leases without penalty and they know the steps they have to follow, including documenting the issue and giving notice. Members of the armed services benefit from such clauses as they can eliminate confusion and provide more protections; someone worried about saddling a spouse with high rent in the event of being called up, for example, could be assured that the entire lease can be broken or the rent will be reduced if it becomes necessary.
Military members who need assistance with housing matters can work with attorneys and counselors on a base to get information about finding housing, signing leases, and dealing with issues that may come up. Landlords renting to members of the military may want to consult landlord-tenant law in their region to get information about military clauses and special circumstances related to renting to members of the military so they can be prepared for military tenants.
A military clause? Learn something new each day. The lease term for someone working in the military is almost the same as the regular renter's. Sometimes, agencies can assist the military renter in finding another place, even with a broken lease, just in case he/she is assigned to move to another place.
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