Large businesses and institutions often check a customer’s military status before initiating disciplinary action. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act includes penalties for violations by civilians who come into contact with servicemembers. In particular, property managers should be familiar with the act’s requirements, including the frequency with which they must complete background checks on all prospective tenants.

When tenants in Michigan stopped paying rent and packed up and left, the landlord had little choice but to file for eviction. One of the locals, though, was serving in the military forces at the present time.

Checking the Service Records of a Soldier

The landlord did not comply with the law by obtaining a court order or verifying the tenants’ military status.

Due to his cooperation, the SCRA violation case against him has been reduced to a class A misdemeanor. The judge ordered him to serve six months in jail, followed by a year of supervised release, pay a $1,000 fine, and reimburse the victim $15,300.28.

The broad interpretation provided by the SCRA gives credence to the severe look of the penalty. The Department of Justice has had an increasingly difficult time in recent years with executing the SCRA. Predatory lenders often target those who serve our country.

Some matters involving SCRA enforcement may be resolved by the imposition of monetary fines by the courts. This case demonstrates the courts’ propensity to enforce criminal law when necessary.

SCRA’s Eviction Law

Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute states that a landlord needs a court order to evict a member of the armed forces or a family member.

  • A military member’s or their family’s principal place of residence.
  • It is feasible to make payments of less than $3,851 each month (as of 2019).

Tenants protected by the Service Members Civil Relief Act’s rental military clause are protected against eviction unless the landlord can prove the tenant is not a member of the armed forces (SCRA). A court can do one of two things if a servicemember’s capacity to pay the agreed-upon rent is significantly hampered because of military service.

First, the eviction process will be put on hold for up to three months. The court may suspend a sentence for whatever period of time it deems appropriate.

One possible solution is to negotiate more favorable terms for the lease’s duration.

Without sufficient verification of military service and a court order, anyone who engaged or even attempted to assist in the eviction or distress of property rented by a member or dependent of the armed forces is subject to penalties, jail time, or both.

Verify Your Military Service

The legal system takes seriously the SCRA’s protections against eviction for servicemembers. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service could be helpful for landlords with military tenants. It’ll only cost you a few dollars and a few minutes of your time, and the documentation it provides can be utilized in court if a dispute arises over whether or not you actually placed a purchase.