When Service Members use commercial property storage, or rent a residential property, they are protected from certain adverse actions by the property landlord. Generally, landlords who believe their tenants are failing to hold up their end of the bargain can either seize (and probably sell) the property in the storage unit or even evict their tenants. Ever watch the show Storage Wars? It’s kind of like that!
The SCRA, however, protects Service Members by requiring landlords to obtain a court order before taking such action. When combined with other SCRA protections, like the stay of proceedings discussed on the next page, the SCRA weaves a net of protections for homes and property, so that no one is legally prejudiced by military service.
The safety net in practice: Let’s say a Service Member has missed a number of monthly payments on rent and storage fees. The landlord wants to evict the Sailor from his home and the storage company wants to seize and sell his property. Not so fast! By law, property owners must sue in court for a court order before evicting or selling personal stored property.
Now let’s further suppose the Service Member is deployed overseas and cannot return to defend himself in this lawsuit. If he finds out about the lawsuit, he can request a stay, and the court, applying the SCRA, must pause the proceedings. Meanwhile, his residence and property are secured while he makes the arrangements to come home and clear it up. And what if the Sailor never received any notice of the lawsuit while deployed? He can even have the default judgment — i.e., the automatic loss of the lawsuit due to failing to respond — overturned!