The current real estate market in Northern Virginia has proved a rude awakening for some renting military families who signed a lease in the last year. Landlords who decided NOT to pay their mortgages have left the tenants holding the bag when the sheriff comes to the door.
Military familes who are forced to make a local move due to a foreclosure may find some relief from the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Not many servicemembers know that under section 531 in the SCRA anyone looking to evict an active duty servicemember from a rental property that is their primary residence must have a court order. This applies to rent that is less than $2831.113 per month. Servicemembers can apply to the court to stay their eviction or reduce their rent until their case works it's way through the legal process.
As of July 2008 servicemembers who are being forced to leave their rental property due to foreclosure can apply to their base legal services and transportation office to seek financial assistance with their move. In addition to the assistance you may find through your base you can also seek "cash for keys" from the lender who is foreclosing on the property.
Recently a family that I had helped find a home last year and signed a multiple year lease found themselves forced to move. I spoke with the agent who had contacted the renters about the impending foreclosure and was able to assist them with a "cash for keys" opportunity that provided them $1500 to move. They are currently working with their transportation office to see about assistance with additional moving expenses. If you are active duty military renter and have been notified of your landlords impending foreclosure RUN to your local legal office to talk about the options that the SRCA may provide for you.
Lenders have been forestalling foreclosure procedures for properties with renters who are current on their rental payments. Hopefully these lenders will realize a property with a paying tenant is better than an empty home during the winter months.
Military Legal Services Locations