Military Clause

Last Updated: November 16, 2023 by Savannah Minnery

A military clause is a lease provision that highlights an active-duty military member’s right to break their lease if they are called to duty or receive a permanent change of station. This also applies to active-duty members of the National Guard, Coast Guard, and the reserves.

Sample Military Clause

Below is an example of a military clause that could be included in a lease agreement:

In the event that the Tenant is, or hereafter becomes, a member of the United States Armed Forces (the “Military”) on extended active duty, the Tenant receives orders for a permanent change of station to depart from the Premises, is relieved from active duty, retires or separates from the Military, or is ordered into Military housing, the Tenant may terminate this Lease Agreement upon providing the Landlord with thirty (30) days written notice. The Tenant must also deliver to the Landlord a copy of the Tenant’s official orders or a letter signed by the Tenant’s commanding officer. These documents must reflect the changes that warrant termination under this Clause. The Tenant’s security deposit holdings will be promptly returned to the Tenant, providing there are no damages to the Premises.

Why Include a Military Clause in a Residential Lease Agreement?

Military members are protected under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)—a federal statute allowing military personnel to break their lease due to deployment or relocation. Due to SCRA protections, a military clause is not required. However, including one will help clarify the process of breaking the lease, security deposit information, and required notice. This will make the unit more attractive for military members and their families.

What to Include in a Military Clause

Landlords should include the following information in their military clause:

  • Required minimum notice from the tenant (e.g., 30 days)
  • Required documentation from the tenant
  • The terms under which the tenant is covered
  • Information regarding the return of the security deposit
  • The tenant’s remaining rent obligations
  • When the clause will go into effect
  • Any additional terms

Landlords should keep in mind that a military clause cannot override any rules or regulations in the SCRA. This clause is typically used to clarify existing information or add additional protections for tenants.

How Tenants Break a Lease Using a Military Clause

In order to terminate a lease agreement, the tenant must deliver written notice to the landlord containing the following information:

  • A copy of the tenant’s official orders or a letter signed by the tenant’s commanding officer
  • The tenant’s final date of residency
  • A request to return any security deposit holdings
  • Tenant’s personal contact information
  • Contact information of the tenant’s commanding officer

Under the SCRA, the last day of the following month will be the end of the lease agreement. For example, if the tenant delivers their notice to the landlord in March, the lease will end on April 30th.

How Can Landlords Minimize Financial Strain From Frequent Vacancies?

The frequent departures of military tenants can often lead to financial stress for the landlord. While most states have laws preventing discrimination against military applicants, landlords who are proactive about building relationships with their tenants are less likely to encounter severe financial impact.

For example, if a landlord is known for being flexible and accommodating with military tenants, they are more likely to receive referrals. This will lead to a steadier occupancy rate and less frequent income gaps. Additionally, landlords who are well-liked by their tenants are more likely to receive help filling the space.