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What Property Managers Should Understand When Dealing with Military Service Members

Property managers and active service members

Some of your tenants will require specific accommodations as property managers because of unusual situations. In certain circumstances, you’ll be required by law to make these concessions, while in other cases, management businesses may view this as an opportunity to target a specific market.

Property managers play a crucial part in assisting U.S. military personnel manage their homes while on active duty. It’s also crucial for property managers to keep in mind that the Service Member Civil Relief Act (SCRA) grants these renters the right to cancel leases early in situations where doing so would normally constitute a breach of contract.

To better serve their clients, property managers should familiarise themselves with the SCRA.

Here are a few things that property managers need to be aware of when dealing with military tenants or when managing property for service personnel.

Taking care of the real estate for active service members

Almost everyone can make a profit investing in real estate. Real estate purchases have significant advantages for service members and veterans.

Private lenders create V.A. loans, but the Department of Veteran Affairs backs them. The one-year residency requirement for eligible borrowers is supplemented with the option to purchase up to a four-flex with each purchase.

Important information on V.A. loans

  • Without a deposit
  • Mortgage rates are lower than those for conventional bank loans.
  • There is no requirement for private mortgage insurance.
  • To qualify borrowers, a more liberal debt-to-income ratio is applied.
  • No minimum credit score
  • Must spend a year residing there as their principal residence.
  • A service member may make another purchase at the new duty station within a year of their prior purchase if they receive a new military assignment before the one-year period has passed.
  • A down payment can be made with a loan entitlement of $36,000 or 25% of the loan amount. The borrower is responsible for paying anything that exceeds the entitlement cap.
  • There are loan limits. An eligible Veteran with full entitlement may borrow up to the loan limit without paying a down payment.
  • Although there is no maximum amount a service member can borrow, there is a ceiling on the amount of responsibility the V.A. will take on in the event of default.
  • When acquiring a multi-family unit, the loan limit is calculated using the value of one unit.

While V.A. loans are more liberal than conventional and FHA loans, a mortgage is still considered a liability. Therefore, armed forces members should carefully examine the benefits and drawbacks depending on their unique situation.

For military personnel looking to purchase real estate, some states are preferred over others. Buying might be worthwhile in states with low property taxes and in places where renting frequently costs more than a mortgage.

How to reach military families with your property management services?

This is a fantastic potential client to seek if your business is in a state with a significant military deployment hub. After establishing a connection, it is simple for real estate agencies that assist service members in finding a home to transition into becoming property managers.

Here are some factors to think about for other property management companies hoping to attract this clientele:

  • 24/7 access to your account
  • Property managers are always on call to respond to inquiries.
  • Pricing that is upfront and offers a veteran discount
  • In addition to conventionally written reports, there will also be a video recording of the house’s condition.
  • Reports of expenses and income due each month

Emphasize the advantages of doing business with your organization. Nobody enjoys dealing with the stress of maintenance, finding new tenants, negotiating leases, and organizing showings, especially someone who has just been assigned to a new area or deployed. Working with a qualified property manager eases concerns.

Most military families purchase homes close to the installation. Thus it frequently makes sense to rent out the home rather than sell it. For some homeowners, a family or another military person makes the ideal tenant.

House
Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

Taking care of tenants who are active military personnel

Military personnel who are tenants are given certain privileges under the Service Member Civil Relief Act. Contractual duties owed to the U.S. military take precedence over those owed to a landlord. This act and other laws are intended to support military personnel in their civil affairs as they perform their official duties. These rules are meant to “guard people who have been forced to abandon their personal affairs to take up the burdens of the nation,” as the U.S. Supreme Court put it in elegant words.

Should they obtain a reassignment order after signing, a service member can end a lease under section 535. Landlords/property managers and their military tenants frequently disagree on the scope and specifics of this right to terminate. The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act preceded the SCRA. The title was changed, and a significant overhaul in 2003 expanded and clarified the conditions for terminating a lease.

When and how do military members end leases?

A lease that was signed before enlisting in the military may be terminated under the SCRA. Additionally, it introduced the option to end a lease after serving in the military if (a) the tenant subsequently obtained orders for a permanent change of station or (b) received orders for a deployment lasting longer than 90 days.

Lease cancellation due to station or deployment changes

The execution date of the orders is not important. The day the orders are received is important. After receiving instructions for deployment or a permanent change of station under the SCRA, the tenant is not permitted to cancel the lease.

The renter must also provide the relevant documentation in a timely way to terminate the lease. The military tenant could conceivably end a lease several months or even years before the date that the orders are to be carried out because the date to start the termination starts when the orders are received.

Lease termination due to discharge

Additionally, there are special guidelines for lease termination owing to discharge. The majority of military personnel will successfully complete their enlistment and receive an honorable or general release. Under the SCRA, these two administrative discharges can only trigger a lease termination right. A certificate saying this will be given to people who received an honorable discharge or were let go “under honorable terms.”

Under Other Than Honorable Condition and Uncharacterized are the other two discharge categories. For these final two, there is no right to dismiss. If a renter does not have a certificate of honorable discharge, the kind of discharge will be indicated on the D.D. Form 214.

The SCRA also specifies how property owners or managers may dispose of a military tenant’s personal goods or enforce a storage lien without a court order. A property manager may be charged with a crime and face a fine and/or a year in jail if they perform any actions that are known to be against the SCRA.

Make sure to read more about the SCRA, your rights, and the relevant processes here.

Featured Image by Kim Heimbuch from Pixabay