The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) was enacted back in December 2003 as a method of protecting servicemembers from significant financial burdens while they are on active duty serving their country. Under the SCRA benefits, lenders are prohibited from repossessing the servicemember’s personal property, including their car, and from foreclosing on their home without a court order.
SCRA law allows the Attorney General to pursue litigation against anyone who violates this law and harms a servicemember or their family. In a broad manner, the SCRA provides protection to servicememebers and their dependents in four different categories: housing & mortgages, installment contracts, life insurance and taxes.
The SCRA in North Carolina
In 2019, North Carolina enacted their own version of the SCRA. Similar to Congress’ version of the SCRA, North Carolina’s version provides protection to servicemembers and their dependents in the same four categories.
The main difference in North Carolina’s SCRA benefits compared to Congress’ version is that North Carolina treats knowing violations of the SCRA as unfair & deceptive trade practices, which can allow the plaintiff to recover treble damages and attorney’s fees.
SCRA Housing Protections in North Carolina
North Carolina expanded the Federal SCRA eviction protections so that if a servicemember’s residential lease expires while the servicemember is on active duty, then the servicemember may avoid eviction by extending their lease to last until 10 days after their active duty period ends, provided that the servicemember is in good standing with their lease agreement.
Congress banned foreclosure sales “during, or within one year after a servicemember’s military service” unless conducted by a court order or pursuant to a valid written waiver. Any person who knowingly violates, participates in the violation of, or attempts to violate, the SCRA’s foreclosure rules faces criminal penalties. North Carolina adopted this protection as well.
SCRA Protections Against Internet & Phone Services
The SCRA allows servicemembers to terminate a phone, video, or internet service contract at any time after receiving orders to relocate for a 90+ day period to a location that does not support the contract. Service providers are not permitted to charge an early termination or reinstatement fee and they must return any advance payments to the servicemember. If the servicemember’s orders require them to locate for three years or more, then the servicemember is entitled to keep the same phone number.
North Carolina’s General Assembly declared that this state’s public policy is “that servicemembers who have entered into certain service contracts and who later receive military orders to relocate to a location that does not support those contracts as determined by the service provider should not be penalized for terminating those contracts.”North Carolina Legislature expanded the SCRA’s protections to include satellite radio service contracts and all contracts covered by Subchapter III of the Federal SCRA. Additionally, North Carolina requires that service providers refund any sums owed to servicemembers within sixty days.
SCRA Attorneys in Raleigh, N.C.
If you are a member of the U.S. military and believe you were subjected to SCRA violations or have any questions regarding this blog or the SCRA as a whole, Maginnis Law’s SCRA attorneys would like to speak with you.
Maginnis Law’s SCRA Attorney, Karl Gwaltney is experienced in handling SCRA related cases and would like to speak with you regarding your potential case. You can contact our firm by phone at 919.526.0450 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org