www.FortHoodSentinel.com May 6, 2010 A5
Landlord, tenant issues: Your rights under SCRA Justice
BY E. STEPHANIE HEBERT as printed, then they’ll have to
Legal Assistance Attorney look elsewhere for a place to live.
Feeling like they have no choice
The Fort Hood Legal Assis- in the matter, some Soldiers sim-
tance Office counsels Soldiers ply sign the contract and hope
each day regarding the early ter- for the best.
mination of their leases, often Court Martial results:
within days of a Soldier’s deploy- Educating Soldiers/spouses On April 29 at a General Court Martial,
ment or departure for a perma- In order to correct these prob- Pvt. David Malone Jr., assigned to 48th
nent change of station. With- lems, we need to teach our Sol- Chemical Brigade, pled and was found guilty
out planning ahead, reading diers (and their spouses) to read of Absent Without Authority in violation
your lease and providing proper every line of every document of Article 86, UCMJ, Disobeying a Supe-
notice as outlined by the Service- before they sign on the dotted rior Commissioned Officer in violation of
members Civil Relief Act, there’s line. We need to encourage our Article 90, UCMJ, two specifications of Flee-
not much we can do to help. Soldiers to get a second opin- ing Apprehension in violation of Article 95,
In order to better plan for an ion or seek legal assistance if UCMJ, and Reckless Operation of a Motor
upcoming move, here are a few they don’t understand a docu- Vehicle in violation of Article 111, UCMJ .
issues to think about: ment they intend to sign. We He was sentenced to forfeiture of all pay and
need to encourage them to walk allowances, confinement for 15 months and a
Written notice required away from consumer transac- bad-conduct discharge.
Assessing penalties for early tions if they feel forced to choose On April 28 at a General Court Martial,
termination of a contract is not between (a) their SCRA rights Spc. David J. Isenhower, assigned to the
only understandable, but reason- and (b) an apartment, a car or 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment
able, in most civilian situations. Courtesy photo any other consumable item they Command (Expeditionary), pled and was
The SCRA, however, enables think they desperately need or found guilty of Resisting Arrest in violation
Soldiers to terminate their resi- fined and incarcerated. have to deal with litigating this want. of Article 95, UCMJ, Breach of the Peace, in
dential leases without being issue just before deployment, or We vehemently discourage violation of Article 116, UCMJ, two specifi-
penalized when they receive PCS Waiving your rights? worry about it after he’s down- Soldiers from signing any con- cations of Assault and Battery, in violation of
or deployment orders. Specifical- We recently found the fol- range. tract which attempts to waive Article 128, UCMJ, and communicating a
ly, the SCRA authorizes the early lowing penalty/waiver language Given the high volume of Sol- their SCRA rights or impose threat, in violation of Article 134, UCMJ. He
termination of a residential lease contained in a Killeen apartment diers in the Fort Hood area, financial penalties against them was sentenced to reduction to E-1, forfeiture
if a Soldier provides the landlord lease involving a Fort Hood Sol- how can landlords and property simply because they are Soldiers. of all pay and allowances, confinement for 13
with written notice of an upcom- dier: managers (many of whom are We track and report individuals months and a bad-conduct discharge.
ing PSC or deployment along • $75 admin fee is charged to former Soldiers themselves) get and businesses who take advan- On April 28 at a General Court Martial,
with a copy of the new mili- all active-duty military personnel away with assessing these finan- tage of our Soldiers and con- Pvt. Ian D. Carter, assigned to U.S. Army
tary orders. If both documents on ETS and PCS orders cial penalties against our active- sider placing them “off limits” if Garrison, Reception Detachment, pled and
are delivered to the landlord, • $100 admin fee is charged to duty Soldiers? The assessment of they continue to insist that our was found guilty of Absent Without Author-
a Solider will be released from all active-duty military personnel such penalties is not only wrong, Soldiers discard the important ity in violation of Article 86, UCMJ, Dis-
the lease contract thirty days on deployment orders but unlawful as well. The SCRA legal protections afforded by the obeying an Order of an NCO, in violation
after the next rental payment • $200 for replacement tenant was enacted in order to prevent SCRA. of Article 91, UCMJ, Larceny of military
is due. And, unless you waive • Fees are payable upon notice the assessment of penalties just property over $500, in violation of Article
your rights under the SCRA, of intent to vacate like the ones listed above. How LAO can help 121, UCMJ, and Housebreaking, in violation
the landlord cannot assess any This language will likely be So, if Soldiers need not pay If your lease imposes a pen- of Article 130, UCMJ. He was sentenced to
additional charges against you found by a court to be invalid any fees according to the SCRA, alty as a result of your mili- reduction to E-1, forfeiture of all pay and
or retain your security deposit because it constitutes a waiver of why are they signing contracts tary service or requires that you allowances, confinement for 36 months and a
as a result of your early termina- rights under the SCRA, and the agreeing to do so? The most waive any of your rights under bad-conduct discharge.
tion. If the landlord violates the SCRA requires that any waiver likely answer is that some Sol- the SCRA, contact the Legal
Court Martial results are published using the Sol-
SCRA by assessing additional be contained in a separate docu- diers simply don’t know any bet- Assistance Office at 287-7901 to dier’s name and rank. Because of privacy restrictions,
fees or by unlawfully keeping ment. Even though the Soldier ter. Or, they are told that if they schedule an appointment with a all non-judicial punishment and letters of reprimand will
your security deposit, he can be should win his case, he shouldn’t refuse to sign a “standard” lease legal assistance attorney. only be published with the servicemember’s rank.
What special plans do you have to celebrate Mother’s Day this year?
“Call my mom and “Go home to Helotes, “Buy my mom “Send my mom a card.” “Hang out with my
send her a nice gift.” Texas to visit family.” something from the wife and call my mom.”
Spc. Randy Caminita, 1st Lt. (Chaplain) Pvt. Richard Harvey, Pvt. Luther Hyslop, Pvt. Nicholas Laitres,
3-4 Avn. Regt. Patrick Cobb, 21st Replacement Det. 1st Cav. Div. 1st Cav. Div.
1st Cav. Div.
Regulation states Soldiers responsible for supporting families despite separations
We’re here to help Child Custody and Paternity, sets valid court order, written agreement When a Soldier and former payments made by check, money
the Army’s policy on responsibilities or proper relief from the chain of spouse have a court-ordered divorce order or other means.
and procedures for financial sup- command as outlined in AR 608- decree from any state, the Soldier Commanders and leaders must
BY MASTER SGT. DAVID F. LUTZ port in the absence of a court order. 99. is obligated to pay according to the actively engage Soldiers to ensure
Asst. IG, III Corps This regulation also includes reg- Let’s look at a hypothetical sce- court order. If the court orders the they are meeting their obligations
ulatory standards relating to child nario; Staff Sgt. John Doe and his Soldier to pay $450.50 per month, in accordance with AR 608-99.
The III Corps Inspector Gen- custody, visitation matters, paterni- wife, Jane, were separated in Octo- the Soldier is only required to pay This includes conducting periodic
eral Office services all Soldiers, fam- ty cases and compliance with court ber 2009. On Feb. 5, 2010, Mrs. that amount, regardless of the BAH counseling and promptly investi-
ily members and civilians on Fort orders, as required by law to family Doe calls the IG office and requests II rates. gating requests for assistance from
Hood. On any given date, many members of Soldiers. assistance, reporting that Staff Sgt. While the Soldier’s family mem- family members. Spouses who are
of the Soldiers at Fort Hood are For example, if a Soldier is sepa- Doe is not providing any financial bers are residing in government not receiving their full BAH II
deployed and we receive phone calls rated from his/her spouse, the full support to his family. The IG will family housing, the Soldier is not entitlement may contact unit com-
about the entitlements a spouse amount of BAH Type II would be then notify the Soldier’s command- required to provide additional manders. Commanders must then
should receive if he/she is separated paid to the spouse and children. It er to ensure AR 608-99 is properly financial support. However, when initiate immediate action to ensure
from a Soldier. This command issue is important to note that BAH II is applied. the supported family member(s) the Soldier is in compliance with
continues to be the number one IG a universal rate, not the local rate. In this simple case, Staff Sgt. move(s) out of government family AR 608-99 and inform the spouse
request for assistance at Fort Hood. Commanders must consult with Doe pays the required BAH II rate housing, the Soldier will provide of the corrective actions taken with-
All commanders, including rear their servicing staff judge advocate of $894.00 (2010 BAH II rate for BAH II. The bottom-line is com- in 14 days. Commanders should
detachment commanders, must or inspector general for assistance a staff sergeant in support of his manders must determine all the inform Soldiers that failure to pro-
be engaged in this matter. Good with specific situations. family) until a divorce decree ter- facts and consult with their staff vide financial support is a violation
leaders know their Soldiers entitle- Considering support cases are sta- minating the marriage is provid- judge advocate when determining of AR 608-99, and such violations
ments, as well as what the Soldiers tistically the majority of the IG’s ed through the civil court system. the solution. may be punishable under UCMJ.
are required to provide for their workload. Soldiers need to be edu- The Soldier is required to provide The purpose of BAH II is to pro- For more information on Soldier
family members. Many believe the cated concerning their responsibili- continuous financial support to his vide Soldiers with a housing allow- family support obligations, contact
answer is the Basic Allowance for ties under AR 608-99. The Army dependents, in accordance with AR ance for his/her dependents. New your local servicing Legal Assistance
Housing. recognizes the transient nature of 608-99, until a judgment is made BAH II rates went into effect Jan. Office or Inspector General Office.
The truth is the amount of military duty. by the court; at which time the 1. If a Soldier is currently pay-
financial support a dependent may However, AR 608-99 prohibits court order replaces the AR guid- ing the 2009 BAH II rate to his IG INFO
receive depends on the variables the use of a Soldier’s military status ance. Staff Sgt. Doe’s commander or her separated spouse, the Sol-
III Corps IG
that exist in the situation. The or assignment as reason or cause has to determine all the facts and dier should consult their MyPay 287-7209
1st Cav. Div. IG
Army does have a regulatory stan- to deny financial support to family consult with his local staff judge account or local finance office to 287-6775
III Corps IG Hotline
dard to assist commanders when members. Soldiers must continue advocate to find a solution. make the necessary changes to that 287-2428
determining the amount a Soldier to support family members as long Let’s look at a few examples of allotment. After reviewing the 2010 First Army,
13th ESC IG
Div. West IG
must provide for their dependents. as there is a legal obligation by mar- when the BAH II rate does not BAH II rates, Soldiers should make 553-5030
AR 608-99, Family Support, riage or custody and until there is a apply: the necessary adjustments in their