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If you, or a loved one, is a member of the US military, you probably already know how the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) helps you get out of an apartment or car rental if you have a permanent change of station ( PCS) ordered or deployed.
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How To Get Out Of The Military And Be Successful
But did you know the same act protects you when you need to cancel your internet, TV or phone services?
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Amendments to the SCRA in Public Law 115-407, the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of 2018, now allow military members to cancel their Internet, TV or wireless and/or home phone services without penalty if you deploy or relocate for at least 90 become days to a new location where the same service is not provided.
To receive this benefit, contact your provider’s customer service department and let them know that you must cancel your services without penalty under the SCRA. You may be required to provide copies of your deployment paperwork.
Previously, some states had protections in place for service members who canceled their Internet, TV and/or phone service before their contract expired – but not all did. The new legislation has now made that protection available nationwide.
The law also protects against fines or going to court for breaking your apartment or car rental.
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With these changes to the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of 2018, the law now provides some relief to military members and their families. Many TV and Internet providers require one- or two-year contracts to set up services, and often the hidden fees associated with breaking this contract are not clear and can add up to hundreds of dollars.
For example, many providers have prorated cancellation fees (also referred to as early termination fees, or ETFs) based on the number of months you’ve had service. The closer you are to completing the contract, the lower your cancellation fees. Other Internet and TV providers have set cancellation fees that can range from $120 to up to $400.
Be aware that you may also have the option to suspend your service. Interrupting your service can be a good choice if you want to maintain your current plan or promotional offer. Whichever route you take, knowing your legal protections under the SCRA is key.
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Lisa uses years of experience in sales and customer service for Internet TV providers to inform her writing about broadband. Her work has been referenced by CNN and other national sources. … Read more
Carry data from your home for activities such as video calls, uploading large files, working on online documents and live games Maybe your circumstances have changed and your location no longer fits your needs or budget. Maybe you hate your neighbors, landlord or both. Maybe life on the base looks better than life off. Or maybe the do what the do and gave you surprise assignments.
But first, a disclaimer: Every state has different laws and every situation is unique. The important lesson here is to think of this post as an introduction and not as specific advice, except for the following: your local base will have a legal aid office that can provide you with clear and informed advice tailored to your specific needs needs. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them. And if you’re not located near a major post or base, try to find your State’s National Guard Family Assistance Center. They are a great source of resources.
At its heart, a lease is a simple agreement between the tenant and the landlord. The tenant gets unrestricted use of the property, sometimes subject to a few conditions, and the landlord gets a guaranteed income stream. This is a binding contract that guarantees you a place to stay in exchange for guaranteed payments.
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This means that if you move out mid-lease, you’re probably still on the hook for paying your rent for the rest of your lease, but it’s one month or 10. That is, unless you have a “clause” in your lease has that lets you out of or — and it’s an “OR” not an “and” – orders.
If you have orders for either a PCS or a deployment longer than 90 days, federal law allows you to terminate your lease.
Let me be clear here, as I continue to experience a lot of confusion from owners about this. Federal Law, 50 U.S.C. App. Section 535, known as the Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA), provides this right to men and women in the and their families. If you have orders, it doesn’t matter if you have a clause in your lease or not – you’re off the hook.
A clause can change the agreement between the parties, but unless waived in a separate and clearly marked agreement, the rights we just talked about are still there. clause or not, if you have orders, the SCRA covers you.
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What a clause can do is give you more rights or lay out a more user-friendly way to invoke your SCRA rights. For example, it may allow you to break your tenancy if you were to receive on-basis housing.
In general, most clauses are left over from the days before the rights discussed above were written into law. Look at them carefully and don’t hesitate to ask for one that includes situations you expect to encounter (like base housing opening).
There are some other limited circumstances in which you can break a lease, but generally, if the landlord reasonably lives up to his end of the contract, you must live up to yours. And that means that if you break your lease without orders or a legal contract in the form of, say, a clause, expect to be held liable for the entire remainder of the lease term, even if you move out.
Break a lease the wrong way, and it can get very expensive, very quickly. You really should consult with an attorney before breaking a lease without the landlord’s agreement. However, landlords tend to be reasonable people. If approached nicely but firmly, they will often agree to a necessary modification, especially if the law is on your side. In general, a negotiated agreement beats a court battle any day.
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Do you have doubts or just want to make sure you are clear? Consulting your local legal aid office before making big decisions about your lease can save you a lot of time and money.
Captain Matthew “Matt” Reid, is an Army Judge Advocate who currently serves as the full-time Legal Aid Officer in Rhode Island. Prior to direct commissioning in the JAG Corps, he served for 10 years as a designated intelligence analyst.
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