Among the list of chores that need to be completed when you go through a Permanent Change of Station (PCS), offering your landlord notice of your move-out date may feel like a minor detail. While this may not be the first item on your checklist, it’s important not to forget! After all, not delivering sufficient notice to your landlord could result in financial and legal implications.
The last three months or so before a PCS are a classic example of the military’s “hurry up and wait” approach. That is, military renters PCSing often find themselves stuck waiting to have orders in hand so they can schedule for utilities to be canceled, finalize move dates and let their landlord know precisely when they will be moving out.
Military families often deal with the complication of not knowing exactly when they will vacate their home until the last minute. Therefore, it is essential for you to keep your landlord in the loop as much as possible. This is because failing to provide adequate notice, based on your lease and local laws, could result in the loss of your deposit and additional expenses.
Make your move a smooth transition by familiarizing yourself with how to give notice to your landlord before you PCS. Stick around until the end of the article for the perfect military clause lease termination example letter!
Using the SCRA Military Lease Clause
From the moment you move into a new rental, you should be planning for your next PCS move. This includes putting aside extra savings in case you need to cover the last full month’s rent and learning all about your SCRA military lease termination benefit.
According to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) military lease clause, you must provide proof that you signed your lease before you entered active duty in order to get out of a lease without penalty. You also need to show that you will remain on active duty for at least 90 more days and are moving 50-100+ miles away from your current installation.
Furthermore, you need to deliver to your landlord a written notice of your intent to break the lease along with a copy of your military orders. This needs to happen at least 30 days before your expected move date to give the landlord sufficient notice and be in line with SCRA expectations.
It’s crucial to note that these standards are just general guidelines and are not set in stone. It is recommended that you check in with your current installation’s housing office to receive personalized guidance based on your unique situation and timeframe.
How to Give Notice to Your Landlord
It’s very fortunate that military renters are given special moving rights — especially since they are often asked to move mid-lease. When the proper procedures are followed, the military lease termination law prevents landlords from holding service members financially accountable for their remaining rental term.
While these regulations are set in stone to protect military members, the military was careful not to put landlords in a bind. As such, it is highly recommended that you give your landlord as much notice as possible before you move.
Use the following steps as a guide to ensure you are being diligent and respectful while giving your landlord notice and breaking your lease.
Step 1: Review Your Original Lease
It’s probably been a while since you really looked over your lease! Take a good look at your lease agreement for any specified terms regarding giving your landlord notice that you will be moving. If your landlord knows that you are an active-duty military member, it is likely they have it already written into the lease for you to give them at least a 30-day notice.
If they feature any lease termination rules that don’t align with SCRA, that’s okay! They just may not have been aware of your profession when they provided their lease agreement. Or, they might just need to be kindly educated about the laws related to military renters terminating leases.
If you ever run into a landlord who isn’t complying with SCRA regulations, let your installation’s housing office know as soon as possible. They will be able to guide you through navigating the appropriate next steps.
Step 2: Put It In Writing
If you have an idea of your general moving timeline, you should give your property manager or landlord a heads-up that you expect to be leaving soon. Even if you don’t know the exact move-out date yet, it is always courteous to let them know what to expect in the near future.
Once you know exactly when you will be expected to report for duty at your new installation, you can set a firm move-out day with your landlord. At this time, you should put your notice in writing and preferably in a typed format to eliminate any questions that may arise from handwritten content.
Keep the letter professional, friendly and straightforward. Don’t forget to include your military PCS orders to prove that you have a right to early lease termination!
Step 3: Obtain Proof of Notice
Before you send your letter, make sure you double-check your lease for specific requirements regarding giving notice and which address to send this information to. Then, mail the letter using certified mail with a return receipt required.
This way, your landlord must sign to receive the delivered letter. The last thing you want is for them to say you didn’t give appropriate notice. Most landlords are wonderful and flexible, but you want to always cover your tracks and protect yourself from false accusations.
Step 4: Keep Your Records
Even after you PCS, keep a file with your important family documents, including a copy of your lease, your notice to end the lease, the certified mail return receipt and a copy of your move-out inspection. Taking these measures will ensure you are prepared if you’re called into question about the timeframe in which you terminated your lease.
More Like This: Make your move a success by reviewing our article, What is Your PCS Weight Allowance? PCS Packing Guide and Tips!
Military Clause Lease Termination Example
Not sure about where to start with your notice of termination letter? We’re here to help! Feel free to use this military lease termination letter template to help you get started. You can simply fill in your information where indicated, or you can use this example as a guide while you write your own letter.
[Your Current Address]
[City, State, ZIP Code]
[City, State, ZIP Code]
Subject: Notice of Lease Termination
Dear [Your Landlord’s Name/ Name of Property Management Company]
First and foremost, I want to express that it has been a great experience renting from you. As a military member, I have been ordered to move to a new installation.
This is an official written notification that I will be vacating my residence effective [MM/DD/YYYY] at the following address:
[Rental Street Number
Rental City, State and ZIP Code]
This memo satisfies the required notice of 30 days, which was stipulated in my original rental agreement. I will deliver all keys for the property to your office on or before the date indicated above.
I am available to perform a move-out inspection from [Include Preferred Dates]. You can expect your property to be cleaned and left in pristine condition. Any refundable deposits owed and follow-up correspondence can be sent to:
Your New Address
City, State and ZIP Code]
I have included a copy of my official military orders for your records. Please feel free to contact me by phone if you have any questions at [Your Phone Number].
[Your Typed Name]
Additional Tip: Don’t forget to sign your letter with your authentic signature underneath your typed name! By doing this, you’ll solidify your intent to terminate the lease.
Learn More About PCSing, Renting, or Buying a Home
Are you preparing for a big PCS move? Don’t go into it blind! Here at AHRN, we are committed to helping military members discover ideal military housing. Review these guides to get a big head start on your upcoming move!