The Servicemember Civil Relief Act is a federal law that provides benefits to military service persons on active duty. The Act offers protections to both servicemember homeowners, tenants, and their families. The SCRA applies to members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, reservists on federal active duty, and members of the National Guard on federal orders for a period of more than 30 days. The protections of the SCRA begin on the date that a servicemember enters active duty or upon their receipt of military orders.
In some situations, active duty requirements result in late rent and mortgage payments or the inability to make payments for months at a time. Real estate Attorney Melvin Monachan explains the protections available to tenants and homeowners under the SCRA.
I can't make my mortgage payments. Can the SCRA Help?
Missed mortgage payments can result in foreclosure. Under the SCRA, a creditor must file a request with the court to begin the foreclosure process during a servicemember's active duty and for the one year period that follows the active duty. The court will hold a hearing to determine if either a stay in the foreclosure proceedings or an adjustment of the amount owed is appropriate under the individual servicemember's circumstances. An adjustment to the amount owed may include waiving late payment fees or fines. The court has discretion in determining the length of the stay that may be granted to pause the foreclosure proceedings, so long as the time period is considered fair to the servicemember.
The SCRA also protects servicemembers against default foreclosure judgments in the event that the servicemember cannot attend the court hearing or file a response to the creditor's foreclosure complaint because they are serving on active duty.
Under the SCRA, servicemembers who take out mortgages prior to joining the military are limited to a six percent interest rate, which includes service charges and fees. This reduced interest rate is available while a servicemember is on active duty and for one year following deployment.
How Does the SCRA Benefit Tenants?
The SCRA protects active duty servicemembers and their families from eviction for the nonpayment of rent without a court order. The court will permit a stay an eviction proceeding for a period of 90 days or an adjustment to the amount of unpaid rent if the servicemember can show that being on active duty impacted their ability to make timely rent payments.
If a servicemember enters into a residential or commercial lease agreement prior to joining the military, the SCRA also allows the servicemember to terminate the lease after entering military service or receiving military orders.
Contact New York Real Estate Attorney Melvin Monachan
Attorney Monachan has years of experience defending against foreclosures and evictions. If you think that you may eligible to benefit from the protections of the SCRA, attorney Monachan will help you understand your rights and legal options. Contact the Law Offices of Melvin Monachan, PLLC, online or by calling (516) 714-5763.