Early Lease Termination for Servicemembers and Dependents
In 2005, North Carolina passed an amendment to North Carolina General Statute 42-45. It was amended again in 2012. This statute now allows for early lease termination in the following cases:
• The servicemember tenant receives permanent change of station orders to depart 50 miles or more from the location of his current dwelling;
• The servicemember tenant is "prematurely or involuntarily released or discharged from active duty with the United States Armed Forces;
• The servicemember tenant is deployed for 90 days or more; or
• The servicemember tenant dies while on active duty. Termination of servicemember's lease obligations also terminates lease obligations of co-tenants who are immediate family members.
When is the effective date of lease termination under the SCRA?
Under the SCRA, lease termination is effective 30 days AFTER the next rental payment is due after the landlord receives notice of intent to terminate. For example, Let's say that your monthly rent is due on the 1st day of every month and you deliver proper notice of termination to your landlord on April 28h, your lease terminates, and your obligation to pay rent terminates, 30 days after May 1st.
What is the effective date of lease termination under the North Carolina law?
Under NC Gen Stat 42-45, as amended, your lease terminates 30 days after the next rental payment is due after the landlord receives notice of intent to termiante OR 45 days after that receipt of the notice, whichever is shorter. For example: Let's say that your rent is due on the 1st day of the month. You provide proper notice to terminate on April 6th. Your lease terminates 30 days after May 5th or 45 days after April 6th, whichever comes first. In this case, 45 days after the April 6th notice is shorter and that is the effective date of lease termination. However, if you terminate under this North Carolina law, you may also be required to pay liqidated damages.
What are " Liqudated Damages "?
"Liquidated damages" means a set dollar amount which is ordinarily an estimate of the dollar value of the harm that will be caused if a party to a contract breached (that is, fails to comply with the promises made in that contract). The parties agree that if such a breach occurs, the breaching party must pay the agreed liquidated damages amount. However, in the case of North Carolina residential leases, the requirement to pay liquidated damages, as well as the amount, is set by statute rather than agreement by the parties. Thus, if you terminate your lease using the North Carolina military lease termination law, you may be required to pay rent through the effective date of the ease termiantion and you may also be required to pay the applicable liquidated damages.
What kind of notice must I provide to the landlord?
You must log in to your resident portal and click the "Give Notice" button, a copy of your orders to the landlord. Or, instead of orders, you can provide a letter from your commanding officer verifying the reason that you are terminating the lease (e.g., that you received PCS orders, that you have been involuntarily or prematurely released or discharged from active duty, or that you have been ordered to deploy in excess of 90 days.)