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Can you terminate your apartment lease because you are deploying for six months?

  • Published
  • By Major Scott A. Hodges
  • Air Force Chief of Legal Assistance
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) states that a member who receives permanent change of station orders or who is deploying to a new location for 90 days or more has the right to terminate a housing lease. To terminate the lease, you must deliver written notice to the landlord stating the basis for termination. Oral notice is not sufficient.

Give notice to the landlord as soon as possible. If your apartment lease is a one year lease, the termination of your lease will not be effective until the last day of the month after the month you give notice. For example, if you give notice on 12 July, the termination of the lease will be effective on 31 August. If your apartment lease is a month to month lease, the termination becomes effective 30 days after the first date on which the next rental payment is due subsequent to the date when the notice of termination is delivered. For example, if you give notice on 12 July and your next rent payment is due on 1 August, then the termination date for your lease will be 1 September.

If these timelines don't sound generous enough, remember that you can include a more generous military clause in your lease. But if you forgot the military clause, the SCRA still protects you.

The servicemember is required to pay rent for only those months before the lease is terminated. If rent has been paid in advance, the landlord must prorate and refund the unearned portion. If a security deposit was required, it must be returned to the servicemember upon termination of the lease.

For more information and assistance with this process visit the legal assistance website,, and contact your local legal assistance attorney. You can find the nearest legal assistance attorney by using the legal services locator on the website.