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Q: I have a tenant who works as a contractor for the military and is being relocated for work.  He has subsequently requested to terminate his lease without an early termination fee. Does the law require me to waive the early termination fee? 

A:  No, landlords are not required to waive early termination fees for contractors who work for the military or any other part of the government. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) prohibits landlords from charging an early termination fee to servicemembers who receive orders to report to a new location. The term “servicemember” is defined as a member of the armed forces, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, or Coast Guard. “Servicemember” also includes those who serve in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Public Health Service. Being a government contractor, whether working with the military or otherwise, does not on its own satisfy the definition of “servicemember.”  As such, government contractors do not receive the protections for servicemembers that are proscribed in the SCRA, including the waiver of early termination fees pursuant orders to relocate. 

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