Terminating lease

Randy Williams

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My apartment complex is saying that I can't terminate with my separation orders? Have any of you guys run into the same problem.


Im be Medically separated.
 

Sascha Roberson

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Then the managers are just being A**holes. The SM i have dealt with were able to break thier lease beacause they were being Med sep and it is out of their control. what state are you in?
 

eagleone

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Med. separation usually requires a PCS move. The manager doesn't know what he is talking about. Get with your local JAG office or if the apartment is post/base approved, the housing guys can provide the guy some free legal advice.
 

joelf

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I ran this by my landlord a couple months ago and was told that separation/retirement is NOT covered by the military clause since there is no military dictated move involved. Nothing requires you to leave the area once you're out of the military. I also spoke with JAG and housing and they confirmed the military clause is only applicable when your particular service orders that you move to another location for continued service.
 

eagleone

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I don't think they are correct. The military is obligated to return you to your state of residence upon retirement / separation. That response doesn't pass a reasonable test. This is the same as someone "volunteering for a PCS move" and then not getting protection during a move.

I would ask a better attorney. A friend had the same experience, because he came off retirement, returned to duty, and then retired again. The landlord refused to break the lease when he re-retired. The landlord got stomped in court.
 

AvnSgt

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Sounds a bit off, as you should PCS to your home of record(HoR) upon the separation, as part of your final move to complete the separation process. This is part of your clearing process, before you final out of the military.
 

eagleone

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Per JAGCNet (still looking):
Military tenants and landlords often seek legal advice about the lease, military termination clause, local law, return of security deposits, and other topics. Legal Assistance attorneys may advise on these and related landlord & tenant matters.
If you are renting, check to see if your lease contains a "military termination clause." Before you sign a lease, make certain that your lease has such a clause. In general, it allows you to end a lease on fairly short notice and without penalty, or with a limited penalty, if you receive PCS (permanent change of station) orders. However, not all termination clauses are the same. You should bring the lease to a legal assistance attorney for review. Some military clauses cover convenience moves to military housing, and some do not; some require forfeiture of all or part of your security deposit if you terminate the lease as a result of a change in duty station, and some do not.

Selected Internet sites on Landlord & Tenant matters:
Cornell Legal Information Institute, state laws on property
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) list ot Tenant Rights by state
 

eagleone

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Per AF Academy JAG (I think this is the "right answer"):
http://www.usafa.edu/superintendent/ja/landlord.cfm?catname=JA

What Happens if I Leave the Air Force or PCS before my Lease Ends?
You will be liable under the lease unless it contains a "military clause". This clause allows you to get out of your lease under certain conditions. Although landlords who frequently rent to military members often put this clause into their leases, you should discuss this issue with your landlord. If the clause is not right in the lease, you and the landlord can sign an addendum (sample attached to this handout). You may have to pay a "penalty" (i.e. one month's rent) in order to get out of the lease using this clause.

Here is an example of a "military clause." You should insist that this clause (or one similar to it) is included in your lease agreement:

It is expressly agreed that if the lessee herein should receive official orders relieving him/her from station in the Colorado Springs area, or retiring or relieving him/her from active duty in the military service, or assigning lessee public quarters, the lessee may terminate this lease upon written notice of his/her intention to do so. Termination shall become effective thirty (30) days after the date of the service of the notice upon the lessor and if the date of such termination shall fall between the days on which rent is due, the rent will be prorated accordingly.
 

eagleone

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Here is my last SPAM on military clause. Let me know what state you are in, and I will do some searching for you on the area specifics.

From Ft Detrick, Maryland JAG:

Renting Off Post? Include a "Military Termination Clause" in the Lease

Military personnel and their families transferring this PCS season may consider renting or leasing an apartment or home at the next duty station. Always check with the area military Housing Office before doing so, and obtain a sample "military" termination provision to add to your lease.
Under a term lease, which is what most military personnel encounter, rent is due on a monthly basis for a specific term, with an agreed upon ending date (usually one year). A military termination clause gives a military member who must move pursuant to change of station orders the right to end the lease before the agreed ending date without paying a penalty fee, so long as the new place of duty is at least 50 miles from the current one and the move is for a period more than 90 days. Of course, soldiers with Temporary Change of Station (TCS) orders whose family wants to stay in the apartment or house would not invoke the military clause, and the lease would continue.)
To protect landlords, military clauses ordinarily require that notice to terminate be provided in writing, include a specific proposed ending date, and be accompanied by a copy of the military orders or an official letter from the tenant's commanding officer. The orders must specify when the move is to occur (such as "report no later than 15 July" and how long the period will last. In addition, military clauses often state that the lease will terminate 30 days from the next date that rent is due. For example, if rent is paid on June 1st and the military tenant wants an ending date of June 30, written notice must be received no later than June 1. If notice is provided on June 2, the military tenant will still be liable for rent for the month of July. However, in Maryland the lease terminates 30 days from the date notice is given, so long as the notice is accompanied by military orders. So, given the last example, if rent is due on June 1, and notice with orders is provided on June 2, the lease terminates on July 2 and the military tenant pays for only one day of July.
If the landlord will not agree to include a "military" termination provision, the place to go for help is the local housing office. Most apartments located near military installations offer military clauses as a condition to remaining on the local housing office's apartment list. The next place to go is the local legal assistance office to see if a military clause is required by law. Maryland is one of only eight states that requires landlords to terminate residential leases for military personnel who are transferred, retire, or otherwise depart the service. If the state where you will be living does not have such a law, you may wish to consider renting from a different landlord.
A provision allowing for early termination to take on-post housing is not a standard provision in military clauses and may take some negotiating with the landlord. Consider offering an amount equal to a half-month's rent or a month's rent for the right to terminate and move on post. Avoid clauses that require 60 days notice to terminate early, since the military Housing Office will rarely give more than 30 days notice that quarters on post are available. Obtain, a change in writing before signing the lease.
Hopefully these tips will ensure that your next housing decision is a wise one, and one that accommodates the constantly changing geographic demands of a military career. To obtain more information on military clauses and renting off-post in general, visit the Fort Detrick Legal Assistance located at 521 Fraim Street. The Fort Detrick Legal Assistance Office helps soldiers, family members, and retirees in legal matters. You can reach the office at 301-619-2065.
 

joelf

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I'm sure you were asking the OP, but I am stationed in Oklahoma. The applicable portion of my lease is as follows:

"Tenants agree to a minimum rental period of twelve (12) months, total of $9000. It is agreed between the parties that in the event of the ARMED FORCES TRANSFER requiring tenants to move to another city then said twelve (12) month period shall not be binding upon tenants. A COPY OF THE TRANSFER MUST BE REMITTED TO OWNER! This lease CANNOT be broken upon receiving Post Quarters - ABSOLUTELY NO ACCEPTIONS!!! If tenants move out prior to the expiration of the 12 month lease, for any reason (i.e. job transfer), the tenant will owe the landlord a $1000 lease breaking fee. Tenant will be obligated to pay rent until the house is re-rented or the lease expires, whichever occurs first."
*This is verbatim, all formatting, gramatical/spelling errors, etc are exactly as they appear in the lease. Also, I was asked to initial next to several of the sentences...evidently to drive the point home.

When I PCS'd here, an MEB/PEB wasn't even remotely on my radar, so it never occurred to me to request 'separation/retirement' be added to the clause.
 

eagleone

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Joelf,
It is agreed between the parties that in the event of the ARMED FORCES TRANSFER requiring tenants to move to another city then said twelve (12) month period shall not be binding upon tenants.

It isn't limited to PCS orders. It says "ARMED FORCES TRANSFER requiring tenants to move to another city" a decent attorney would beat this. A retirement order is a Change of Station to another city.

Was this contract reviewed by a JAG? That probably would have helped. Get with a real JAG, and tell him/her to protect you (be nice.) If he can't help find another, or talk to your chain of command / NCO chain of support. Also get with base housing and file a complaint. If the landlord is on the approved-list, they should delete him.
 

joelf

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Will do...thanks. In your opinion though, do you think I'm on the hook for the $1000 lease-breaking fee AND monthly rent until the house is re-rented?
 

eagleone

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To a Special Forces bubba that "only plays an attorney on TV," I would say 8 out of 11.5 dentists agree that you should talk to the JAG that uses flouride.

The JAG should know the rules for the State, and the actions that you must take to protect you. I don't know your plans, you should be able to discuss your case with a JAG face-to-face. They are usually very helpful and can give you specifics. Get their help early, so you can plan. The biggest deal is providing written orders or a commanders letter to the landlord in advance (see above).
 

AvnSgt

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I'm sure you were asking the OP, but I am stationed in Oklahoma. The applicable portion of my lease is as follows:

"Tenants agree to a minimum rental period of twelve (12) months, total of $9000. It is agreed between the parties that in the event of the ARMED FORCES TRANSFER requiring tenants to move to another city then said twelve (12) month period shall not be binding upon tenants. A COPY OF THE TRANSFER MUST BE REMITTED TO OWNER! This lease CANNOT be broken upon receiving Post Quarters - ABSOLUTELY NO ACCEPTIONS!!! If tenants move out prior to the expiration of the 12 month lease, for any reason (i.e. job transfer), the tenant will owe the landlord a $1000 lease breaking fee. Tenant will be obligated to pay rent until the house is re-rented or the lease expires, whichever occurs first."
*This is verbatim, all formatting, gramatical/spelling errors, etc are exactly as they appear in the lease. Also, I was asked to initial next to several of the sentences...evidently to drive the point home.

When I PCS'd here, an MEB/PEB wasn't even remotely on my radar, so it never occurred to me to request 'separation/retirement' be added to the clause.
@Joelf - Eagleone is pretty much right on here. But, I want to point a something from a contractual point of view in your lease from the excerpt provided.

"Tenants agree to a minimum rental period of twelve (12) months, total of $9000. It is agreed between the parties that in the event of the ARMED FORCES TRANSFER requiring tenants to move to another city then said twelve (12) month period shall not be binding upon tenants." The statement enclosed in quotes is pretty much a moot point, as upon separation, orders will be cut, "Separation Orders." Near the bottom of the orders will be the phrase "Transportation Entitlement for ETS," and at the bottom of the orders will be your HoR. This is essentially a PCS at this point. So, as Eagleone was saying JAG should be able to resolve this issue. In my view, your landlord does not have much to stand on. In fact, under something called the UCC his or her lease may not even be binding.. But that is for a lawyer and judge to decide. I say this, because I use to work contracts from Lockheed Martin prior to being made 100% P&T UI.. See here for UCC on lease agreements. http://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/2A/
 

joelf

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Is it faulty logic to make this argument?

The $1000 lease breaking fee is owed if the tenant moves out prior to the expiration of the 12 month lease + providing orders to the landlord renders the lease non-binding on the tenant = there is no lease to break, therefore no fee is owed.

Thoughts?
 

pittpan2005

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Is it faulty logic to make this argument?

The $1000 lease breaking fee is owed if the tenant moves out prior to the expiration of the 12 month lease + providing orders to the landlord renders the lease non-binding on the tenant = there is no lease to break, therefore no fee is owed.

Thoughts?
You still have a lease, but you're not breaking it or technically "breaking it legally." The lease is still binding, but the clause allows you special treatment in the event you move.

This is a state issue so research the state laws for Oklahoma. Like others said seek legal counsel on this. If your landlord isn't playing well, lead him to the opinion thats in his best interest to just let you out of it.
 

pittpan2005

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It's possible the $1000 fee only relates to non-military clause breakers. It's also possible the $1000 fee applies to everyone.
 

AvnSgt

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You still have a lease, but you're not breaking it or technically "breaking it legally." The lease is still binding, but the clause allows you special treatment in the event you move.

This is a state issue so research the state laws for Oklahoma. Like others said seek legal counsel on this. If your landlord isn't playing well, lead him to the opinion thats in his best interest to just let you out of it.
Pittpan2005 - Even though it is a state issue, the UCC still applies and the landlord is bond by this whether he/she knows it. So, if it should go to court and the legal system finds that the contract signed was not binding. The courts will default to the UCC and cases related to this issue. To put it simply, a landlord cannot act outside of what is know as goodfaith when contracting. And, from the looks of the the excerpt provided he, or she has never seen the UCC or consulted a lawyer prior to creating a leasing agreement.
 
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