A lease you can live with

Follow these tips before entering into a lease for an apartment, condominium, or house:

  • If there’s anything you don’t understand, don’t sign; take it home and think it over.
  • Ask someone in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) office to help you understand the details of the lease.
  • Ask the landlord if your roommates can co-sign the lease, making them equally responsible.
  • See how much notice is needed before moving out and the penalty if you break your lease.
  • Consider a month-to-month lease vs. a longer term lease if there is a strong possibility for a long-term deployment.

And, remember these points:

  • If utilities won’t be covered by your rent, include them in your monthly spending plan.
  • Do not make a “handshake deal” with a landlord. Insist on a written lease or agreement for a month-to-month rental.
  • If you have roommates, make sure they read the lease.
  • Be aware how often the landlord is allowed to increase your rent, even if it is affordable now.

Note: You have rights under The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which provides a wide range of protections for individuals entering, called to active duty in the military, or deployed servicemembers. You may be eligible to terminate a lease.

Contact the JAG office on your base or post to get more information about SCRA.

Interested in becoming a homeowner? See the topic Buying a Home.

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