Military Clause in Your Lease

When you enter into a lease agreement, be sure your lease has a military clause in it.

This clause differs from state to state but generally allows you to break your lease under certain conditions because your soldier is in the military.

When Can You Terminate Your Lease?

Typical clauses allow you to terminate your lease without penalty if any of the following occur:

1 – Your soldier receives a temporary duty assignment outside of the area for 60 days or more

2 – He separates from the military (ETS)

3 – He is killed in action or missing in action

4 – He receives orders for a permanent change of station (PCS)

Some landlords will let you add a clause that allows you to break the lease if you are offered military housing, but this is uncommon.

The Military Clause Should Cover Both of You

Be sure that the military clause covers everyone who signs the lease. Some couples have run into problems when the landlord only lets the military person out of the lease and would not let the Army spouse out of it.

Be sure it is explicitly stated that the entire lease is canceled, not just that the clause covers the military service person.

The housing office can help you with this if you are unsure of the wording of your lease.

Do NOT Sign Without This Clause

You never know when the Army may decide to move you, and you do not want to be stuck with monstrous fees if you have to move. Also, if your spouse is deployed, this clause allows you to break the lease and move back home if you would like.

Most military clauses will require you to give a 30-day written notice.

If you do this, you should be able to break your lease without penalty under these circumstances.

Be aware that if your lease requires certain things to be done when you move out (such as having the carpet cleaned), it still must be done. The military clause does not exempt that requirement.

author avatar
Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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    1. Not usually. The military clause doesn’t cover moving into on post housing. You can have JAG review your lease to see if there’s a way out.

    1. I sincerely hope that you have already resolved this issue. But if this is continuing to be an issue you need to contact your ombudsman. A stay at home mother at my husband’s last command ran into this situation when her husband deployed and froze their accounts so she and her newborn couldn’t access any of ‘his’ money. The ombudsman was able to put her in touch with on-base services provided her with a low-interest loan that covered her needs. I believe it was automatically deducted from his paycheck.

  1. Can I break my 1 year lease that my fiance and I signed due to me wanting to relocate to another state for work. I am a ATR Supply Srgt. in the Army reserves and want to move and my landlord has been difficult to deal with. I didn’t have the clause included in my lease though. My landlord states that I can’t and that my fiance, who is non-military, will be held accountable for the term of the lease. Is that true?

    1. Your best bet is to take it to JAG and let them review it. If your fiance signed separately, it’s possible they’ll still hold them responsible since they won’t be included on your orders as they would if you were married.

  2. I am moving out of my apartment on the 15th of October and let my apartment complex know a little over 2 months ago. My apartments are making me pay for the whole month even though I will be leaving on the 15th. I will recieve the money back for the time that I am not there but I was wondering if this has happened to anyone else?

  3. My husband is going to basic and i was wondering if that counts as temporary stay some where else. We have a 1 year lease and are about 3 months in and honestly I’m concerned to live in this place with out my husband. I can not afford this by my self and my husband was the main money maker before he joined. What should I do?

    1. You should be able to use the military clause – will have to provide a copy of his paperwork most likely. If they give you an issue with it, you can enlist JAG’s assistance. He will get BAH while he’s in basic though to help cover housing costs.

  4. My husband just got medically retired and had his dd 214 or military seperation orders can he break his 12 month lease. The orders show his home of record in Virginia ?

  5. I just wanted to thank you for everything about this website. It has answered all my questions and then some. I really appreciate it!

  6. My fiance and I plan on getting married in July and I will be moving to Ft. Bliss with him. Would this clause apply to me since I’m the one on the lease?

  7. I have a tenant who is in the Army with a fiancé. He and his fiancé signed the lease. The fiancé signed his name through a power of attorney. They want to get out of the lease through a military clause. Could his fiancé get out of the lease agreement based on the military clause? Could the fiancé be liable for the remaining months’ rent since they are not married? Thanks.

  8. My Husband deployed in early April. I listed our house for sale by owner, received and accepted an offer. 3 days before we were due to close, I found out that the buyer had not continued to obtain financing in good faith. By this time, I had already obtained a lease on an apartment that was due to start 5 days before my close date. (I have a toddler, so my goal was to mitigate the stress of moving on her as much as possible.) I was told while completing paperwork for the lease of the apartment, that if my house sale fell through, they would keep my deposit and I would be on a ‘waitlist’ to rent another apartment. About 2 weeks later, I called and requested that my lease date be changed. I was told I would be sent the documents. At this time, I had no reason not to believe them…. The same weekend, (in good faith) I turned in my utilities’ account numbers as well as the pro-rated rent. The leasing agent had me sign addendum’s. Within 2 days the sale on my house fell apart. I reached out to the apartment complex, only to be told that I was locked in. I tried using orders, but that obviously didn’t work since my husband was already deployed. Is JAG my best bet? I don’t know what else to do. I am about to start paying rent and mortgage (total of $2,600) and utilities on the vacant apartment as well as my home.

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