Arizona Civil Legal Needs Community Survey

Civil legal organizations in Arizona are seeking your input to increase their ability to meet the civil legal needs of Arizona's lower income residents. Please complete this survey to assist in improving civil legal services in Arizona.

Encuesta de Necesidades Legales Civiles de Arizona

Las organizaciones legales civiles en Arizona buscan su opinión para aumentar su capacidad de satisfacer las necesidades legales civiles de los residentes de bajos ingresos de Arizona. Por favor complete esta encuesta para ayudar a mejorar los servicios legales civiles en Arizona.

Money and Debt

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) postpones or suspends certain civil obligations to enable service members to devote full attention to duty and to relieve stress on family members. This document summarizes some of the SCRA’s key provisions and how service members may exercise their rights under the law.

Who and What is Covered by the SCRA?

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act affords protection to individuals who are: (1) entering the military; (2) called for active duty; or (3) deployed for more than 180 days. The protections relate to: outstanding debt, rental agreements, mortgages, motor vehicle leases, telephone service contracts, civil judicial proceedings, and taxes.

Interest Rate Protection

Lenders must drop the interest rate of service member’s loans incurred prior to deployment or permanent change of station to 6%. Any amount over the 6% must be forgiven automatically; it may not be added or sought after the service member returns from service. This protection applies to loans that were incurred by the service member individually or jointly with his or her spouse before being called up to service. To exercise this right, the service member must provide written notice to the lender along with a copy of his or her orders.

Eviction Protection

When deployed, a service member’s family may not be evicted for failure to pay rent up to $3,329.84 per month. The price is adjusted each year to account for inflation. This protection does not forgive the debt that is owed; rather, it prevents eviction while the service member is deployed.

Termination of Lease of Premises

A service member and his/her dependents may terminate a lease for a residential, professional, business, agricultural, or similar use, if: (1) the lease was executed by the individual before entering service; (2) the lease was executed during service, but the individual subsequently received orders for a permanent change of station, or (3) a service member is deployed for at least 90 days. While the lease may be terminated, the service member remains liable for all unpaid rent or charges accrued prior to termination, as well as any damages to the premises.

To exercise this right, the service member must provide written notice to the landlord; oral termination is insufficient. A copy of the military orders that summon the service member to active duty, permanently change his/her station, or require deployment also must be provided. Notice may be given by hand delivery, use of a private business carrier, or US mail with sufficient postage and return receipt requested.

Termination of Auto Leases

A pre-existing auto lease may be terminated if a service member or dependent is ordered to deploy or enter active duty for at least 180 days, or to move outside of the Continental United States. To effectively terminate the lease, the service member must provide written notice and a copy of the military orders. In addition, the service member must return the vehicle within 15 days after delivering this notice. The service member is still responsible for damages to the vehicle.

Termination of Cell Phone Contract

A cell phone contract may be terminated by a service member or his or her dependent if orders are received to deploy or to change station to a location where his or her current phone provider does not have service. The service member must provide written notice and a copy of the military orders. When a cell phone contract is broken, the service member is responsible for the difference between the discount cost of the phone he or she received and the actual cost of the phone.

Delay of Court and Administrative Proceedings

A qualified service member may request a stay of any civil or administrative proceeding for at least 90 days after the termination of his or her tour of duty. To request a stay, which puts a lawsuit on hold, a service member must send “a letter or other communication” to the court explaining how military duty impacts the ability to appear and when he or she will be able to appear. In addition, a letter from the service member’s commanding officer must be provided that states that military obligations prevent the service member from appearing, and military leave is not authorized at this time. This provision does not apply to criminal proceedings.

Deferral of Income Tax Payments

Upon notice to the IRS or state tax authority, a service member whose ability to pay taxes is materially affected by service may defer the collection of any federal or state income tax that is due before or during military service for up to 180 after leaving military services. No interest or penalties may be accrued on taxes deferred under the SCRA. This deferred tax may not be collected until 270 days after the end of the period of military service.

Where can I find out more?

50 U.S.C. § 3901 et seq.

The Department of Justice Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Summary provides basic information on the SCRA.

A Judge's Guide to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

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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