Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Civil Relief Act Information

1. Under the provisions of the SSCRA can I

Terminate a Pre-Service Lease Agreement?


service member who is leasing/renting property used for dwelling, professional,

business, agricultural or similar purposes may terminate a lease that was

  1. signed before the service

    member entered active duty and

  2. the lease/rented premises

    have been occupied for the above purposes by the service member or his/her


The service member must deliver

written notice of termination to the landlord after entry on active duty or

receipt of orders for active duty. The termination date for a month-to-month

lease/rental is 30 days after the first date on which the next rental payment is

due after the termination notice is delivered. For example, if rent is due on

the 1st of the month and notice is delivered to the landlord on August 5th, the

next rent due is September 1st. Therefore, the lease/rental agreement will

terminate on October 1st. For all other lease/rental agreements, the termination

date will be the last day of the month after the month in which the notice was

given. For example, if the term of the lease/rental agreement is yearly and

notice was given August 5th, then the termination date will be September 30th.

If the rent has been paid in advance, then the landlord must return any unearned

portion. The landlord may not withhold the refund of a service member’s security

deposit for early termination of the lease/rental agreement. However, the

landlord may withhold return of the security deposit for damages, repairs, and

other lawful provisions of the lease/rental agreement.

Will the provisions of the SSCRA protect my family

from eviction if I am deployed?

A service member may seek

protection from eviction under SSCRA. The service member or his/her dependents

for the purpose of housing must occupy the rented/leased property, and the rent

cannot exceed $1,200. The service member or dependent that has received notice

of an eviction must submit a request to the court for protection under the

SSCRA. If the court finds that the service member’s military duties have

materially affected his ability to pay his rent timely, the judge may order a

stay, postponement, of the eviction proceeding for up to 3 months or make any

other “just” order

Is there any relief from high interest rates if I

am deployed?

If a service member’s military

obligation has affected his/her ability to pay on financial obligations such as

credit cards, loans, mortgages, etc., the service member can have his/her

interest rate capped at 6% for the duration of the service member’s military

obligation.Qualifying debts are debts that were incurred prior to the service

member coming on active duty. The service member must be on active duty at the

time of the request, and the service member’s military career must have

materially affected the service member’s ability to pay on the debt. This

provision does not apply to federally guaranteed student loans.

The service member should

contact his/her creditor (in writing) and request that his/her interest rate be

reduced to 6% according to the provisions of the SSCRA. While not actually

required by the law, it’s a good idea to include a copy of the military orders

placing the member on active duty, as part of the request. The burden is on the

creditor to seek relief in court if the creditor believes that the service

member’s military career does not materially affect his/her ability to


Can I be sued while I am deployed?

A service member who is either the plaintiff or the defendant in a

civil lawsuit may request a stay, postponement, of a court proceeding in which

he/she is a party. A service member may

request a stay at any point in the proceedings. However, courts are reluctant to grant stays at the pretrial

phase of a lawsuit, such as discovery, depositions, etc. If a judgment is entered against a service

member who is unavailable due to military orders, the service member may be

able to have that judgment voided. In

order to apply for these protections the service member must actually be a

party to the suit. The provision only applies to civil lawsuits, suits for

paternity, child custody suits, and bankruptcy debtor/creditor meetings. A service member should have his/her

commander write a letter to the court and the opposing party’s attorney stating

that the service member is unable to attend the proceedings. The member should

not have an attorney draft such a letter to the court. A letter by an

attorney could be considered an appearance by the service member and could

subject the service member to the jurisdiction of the court.

The provision does not apply


  • administrative hearings
  • criminal proceedings
  • child support determination

    (administrative proceedings)

  • proceedings in which the

    service member is merely a material witness to the lawsuit, but not an actual

    party or

  • service member has leave

    available and has made no attempt to use his/her leave to attend the


Can I get relief from Installment Contracts and

Auto Leases under the SSCRA?

A service member or spouse may

request protection under the SSCRA for pre-service debts incurred under

installment contracts and auto leases. The service member or the spouse must

prove that the service member’s military obligations have materially affected

his/her ability to pay on the debts. Also, at least one deposit or installment

payment must have been made on the contract before entry on active duty. If the

contract falls under the protection of the SSCRA, the creditor is thereafter

prohibited from exercising any right or option under the contract, such as to

rescind or terminate the contract or to repossess the property, unless

authorized by a court order.

Are there any provisions in the SSCRA for tax

relief and relief from other liabilities?


service member or dependent may, at any time during his/her military service, or

within 6 months thereafter, apply to a court for relief of any obligation or

liability incurred by the service member or dependent prior to active duty or in

respect to any tax or assessment whether falling during or prior to the service

member’s active military service. The court may grant stays of enforcement

during which time no fine or penalty can accrue.