Q: My tenants, John and Alice, an unmarried couple, have just informed me that they are breaking their lease. John joined the military and has been transferred to Texas, and Alice intends to go with him. I know that the law requires me to terminate the lease with respect to John and any dependents, but is Alice a dependent? As I understand it, a dependent has to be a child or relative. –Mark S.
A: You’ve started out right, by recognizing that federal law (The Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act) enables tenants to break their leases when they enter active duty in the armed forces, commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, and the activated National Guard. Once the tenant mails notice of his or her activation, a lease or rental agreement will terminate 30 days after the date rent is next due.