Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent

What is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act?

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (or “SCRA”), 50 U.S.C. § 3901 et seq., is a federal law that provides certain legal and financial protections to active duty service members.

Who is covered by the SCRA?

You are covered by the SCRA if you are one of the following:

  • A full-time active duty member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard.
  • A reservist on federal active duty. A member of the National Guard on federal orders for a period of more than 30 days.
  • A service member who is absent from duty for a lawful cause or because of illness, injury, or leave.
  • A commissioned officer in active service of the Public Health Service (PHS) or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • In certain situations, a service member’s dependent. A service member’s dependent is a service member’s spouse, child, or any other person who has received from the service member at least one-half of their financial support during the past 180 days.

How does the SCRA protect service members and their dependents from eviction?

Ordinarily, when a tenant falls behind on their rent, the landlord can use the eviction process to try to have the tenant evicted for nonpayment of rent.

However, if the tenant is an active duty service member who is covered by the SCRA, or a dependent of an active duty service member who is covered by the SCRA, the SCRA may protect the tenant from being evicted, at least temporarily:

  • If you can show that your nonpayment of rent is directly related to the service member’s active duty status, you can ask the court to delay the eviction proceedings for 90 days. (In some situations, the judge can order a longer or shorter delay.)
  • This only applies if the landlord is trying to evict you for nonpayment of rent. (A.R.S. § 33-1368(B); A.R.S. § 33-1476(E); A.R.S. § 33-2143(E)) It does not apply if the landlord is trying to evict you for materially breaching the lease or rental agreement or materially and irreparably breaching the lease or rental agreement. (A.R.S. § 33-1368(A); A.R.S. § 33-1476(D); A.R.S. § 33-2143(D))
  • This only applies if your lease or rental agreement began before the service member went on active duty.
  • The property must be your primary residence.
  • Your monthly rent payment cannot be more than a certain amount.

These eviction-related provisions of the SCRA are at 50 U.S.C. § 3951

If the landlord files an eviction complaint against a tenant who is covered by the SCRA, what can the tenant do?

If your landlord files an eviction complaint against you for nonpayment of rent, you can ask the court for a “stay” (delay) of the eviction proceedings.

You will be required you to show that your nonpayment of rent is directly related to the service member’s active duty status.

You can ask the court to “stay” the eviction proceedings in one of two ways:

  • You can go the hearing and ask the judge for the stay.
  • You can file a written motion for the stay with the clerk of the court, deliver a court-stamped copy of your motion to the landlord or the landlord’s attorney, then go to the hearing and ask the judge for the stay. R.P.E.A. Rule 9

If you are covered by the SCRA learns that you have been evicted, what can you do?

If you learn that you have been evicted for nonpayment of rent, but you did not have an opportunity to ask the court for a “stay” (delay) of the eviction proceedings, you can file a motion to “set aside” (overturn) the eviction judgment with the clerk of the court. R.P.E.A. Rule 14(a)(7)

  • If you are still living on the property when you learn that you have been evicted for nonpayment of rent, you must file a motion to set aside the judgment right away if you want the court to consider it before a writ of restitution is issued.
    • A writ of restitution is a court order giving the sheriff or constable permission to physically remove you from the property and change the locks.
    • A writ of restitution can be issued as soon as 5 days after the date of the judgment. A.R.S. § 12-1178(C)

Additional Resources

Breaking a Lease Prior to Deployment

Legal Eviction Information and Resources - AZEvictionHelp.org

 

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

Privacy Policy | Terms of Use