When your spouse joins the military, the branch of service will either provide housing for dependents or will provide a housing allowance to pay for off-post living arrangements.
If the family decides to live off post, it is up to them if they will rent or buy and how much of the rental payment or mortgage payment the housing allowance will cover.
If you decide to rent, there are many considerations to make before signing the lease. As you will soon be well aware, your spouse is always required to move based on the needs of the military.
While in some cases, this means you may be in one location for several years, in another location, you may only be there for a matter of months. Regardless of how long you are there, it is rare that your rental lease will equal his orders for that location.
This is where the military clause comes into play. It is a very important aspect of your lease agreement and something that you should ensure is included before you sign. The military clause generally allows you to break your lease without penalty if you meet the following requirements:
- PCS orders are received for a duty station that is more than 50 miles away from the current duty station.
- Deployment orders for more than 90 days are received.
Even with a military clause, you are still required to give 30 days notice. Some states may have additional state laws that provide even more protection for military families. If you are unsure about signing the lease, take it by JAG to have it reviewed before you sign it.
Also, be aware that the military clause applies to the one who is in the military so the lease should read that it is for “John AND Mary Smith” not “John Smith or Mary Smith”.
The military clause simply allows you to break your lease without having to pay the normal penalty for ending your lease early. All other aspects of your lease will still apply.