What is the SCRA?

Enacted in December 2003, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects servicemembers from significant financial burdens while they are on active duty. Under the SCRA benefits, lenders may not repossess the servicemember’s personal property, including their car, or foreclose on their home without a court order.

Under the SCRA, the Attorney General can pursue litigation against anyone who violates this law and harms a servicemember or their family.

Overview

The SCRA protection covers a variety of potential issues that members of the military may face as they go into active duty. A few examples include:

  • Rental agreements
  • Security deposits
  • Prepaid rent
  • Evictions
  • Installment contracts
  • Credit card interest rates
  • Mortgage interest rates
  • Mortgage foreclosures
  • Life insurance

Servicemembers can receive a number of SCRA benefits while on active duty. The legislation entitles some servicemembers to interest rate reductions. The interest rate for debts entered into before entering military service cannot exceed six percent for the duration of their military service. For mortgages in particular, this requirement extends for one year after their military service ends. Any interest in excess of six percent ; instead, it has to be totally forgiven for the servicemembers.

Landlords may not evict active duty servicemembers unless the rent exceeds a certain amount that changes every year. Property owned by a servicemember cannot be foreclosed upon, sold, or seized for the duration of their military service, and then for another nine months after their service, without a court order or a written agreement from the servicemember.

If servicemembers deploy for 90 days or more, they are able to end a housing lease without incurring a penalty.

Who is Eligible?

SCRA protection applies to the following servicemembers:

  • Full-time active duty members of the military.
  • Reservists on federal active duty.
  • Members of the National Guard on federal orders for a period of more than 30 days.

SCRA protection applies in some cases to spouses and dependents of servicemembers as well. A surviving spouse of a servicemember may terminate a lease prematurely if their partner dies while being on active duty. A spouse can also choose to claim the servicemember’s state of legal residence, or the state in which they are living on their taxes.

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, contact us today. Karl Gwaltney is our primary SCRA attorney with years of experience. You can contact Karl by phone at 919.526.0450, by email at info@maginnishoward.com or through our contact page.