The current real estate market in Northern Virginia has proved a rude awakening for some military families stationed at Fort Belvoir or the Pentagon who signed a lease in the last year. Landlords with adjustable rate mortgages or too many speculative properties to handle are collecting rent and not paying their mortgages. The result? A surprise knock on the door for the county sheriff with an eviction notice for the tenants.
If you are a family stationed at one of the military installations in our area you may find some relief available for you from the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Not many service members know that under section 531 in the SCRA anyone looking to evict an active duty service member from a rental property that is their primary residence must have a court order. Strangely enough this applies to rent that is less than $2831.113 per month. Where that number came from is a mystery but in our area that covers a significant number of leases. Service members can apply to the court to stay their eviction or reduce their rent until their case works its way through the legal process.
As of July 2008 service members who are being forced to leave their rental property due to foreclosure can apply to their base legal services and transportation office to seek financial assistance with their move. In addition to the assistance you may find through your base you can also seek “cash for keys” from the lender who is foreclosing on the property.
Recently a family stationed at Fort Belvoir that I had placed in a rental last year on a multiple year lease got that surprise knock on the door. Through some research we figured out the brokerage who would be handle the foreclosure listing and were able to assist them with “cash for keys” opportunity that provided them some money to help with their move. They are currently working with their transportation office to see about assistance with additional moving expenses. If you are active duty military family stationed at Fort Belvoir or the Pentagon, RUN to your local legal office if you are notified of your landlords impending foreclosure.
Some lenders have been providing the opportunity for tenants to remain in foreclosed homes until the end of their lease. If you are lucky you may find that you can stay put but if not hopefully this information will help you defray some of the costs associated with a mid-lease move