Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent

What is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)?

The Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides protection for active-duty members of the military. This act gives military members a range of legal and financial protections that a civilian does not have.

SCRA addresses consumer, financial, and housing law issues that an active-duty service member may encounter before, during, or after a relocation or deployment.

Who is covered under SCRA?

The following individuals may be covered under the SCRA:

· A full-time active-duty member of the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine, Navy, or Space Force.

· A reservist on 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 of the Public Health Service (PHS) or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

· A service member’s dependent may be eligible in certain situations. This may include a service member’s spouse, child, or any other person who has received at least one-half of the service member’s financial support in the last 6 months.

How does SCRA protect me from being evicted?

If the service member is being evicted for nonpayment of rent, the SCRA allows courts to postpone an eviction hearing for a service member for up to 3 months or longer if it can be proven that military service impacted the member’s ability to pay rent.

A court may also change the amount of rent due for service members who are being evicted. However, the extension of time or reduction of rent is only possible if the member’s monthly rent is below a certain amount. The amount changes every year based on interest rates and inflation.

In Arizona, to pause the eviction for 90 days, the eviction must be for nonpayment of rent (A.R.S. § 33-1368(B); A.R.S. § 33-1476(E); A.R.S. § 33-2143(E)) and not because of damage caused to the property or breach of the leasing agreement (A.R.S. § 33-1368(A); A.R.S. § 33-1476(D); A.R.S. § 33-2143(D)).

I have been served with an eviction notice, what do I do?

If a landlord files an eviction complaint against a service member for nonpayment of rent, the service member should inform the court of their active-duty status and ask for a “stay of the proceeding” which could pause the eviction.

A “stay of the proceeding” on the eviction can be asked in one of two ways:

· A service member may go the hearing and ask the judge for the stay.

· A service member may file a written motion for the stay with the clerk of the court, deliver a court-stamped copy of the 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

I am being evicted for a material breach of the lease; do I have options under the SCRA?

No. Unfortunately, the SCRA does not provide protections against lease violations. To find out more information about the eviction process or to find legal help visit - https://azevictionhelp.org/

What if I am overseas, does SCRA protect my loved ones back home?

The SCRA may protect dependents back home from being evicted without needing a court order. The court needs to be informed about the service member’s active-duty status and a “stay of the proceeding” may be requested.

I missed my hearing date, what can I do?

If a service member learned that they have been evicted for nonpayment of rent, but did not have an opportunity to ask the court for a “stay of the proceeding”, they may file a motion to “set aside” the eviction judgment with the clerk of the court. R.P.E.A. Rule 14(a)(7) A set aside must be filed within 60 days of the eviction judgment being issued - https://azevictionhelp.org/eviction-process/set-aside-appeal

Service members who are notified that they are being evicted while still living in the property may file a motion to set aside the judgment if they 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 tenants 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))

I am renting a property that was foreclosed on. I am worried the bank will evict me once they take over the property. Does SCRA protect me?

SCRA continues to protect service members even if there is a change in ownership of the property. The judge presiding over the foreclosure and the new property owners should be made aware of a service member’s active duty status. This way, they understand that the service member is protected by SCRA.

Also, the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 allows renters to remain in the home until their lease term ends or for a minimum of 90 days, whichever is greater.

 

 

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.

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