Last week’s article drew much attention from readers all over the country. The article’s intent was to create interest and educate the public about military veterans’ issues, and from the feedback it worked. Follow-Up on SW Florida Military Veterans.
We have limited space, so it’s impossible to clarify every detail, but there are a few points worth mentioning. Last week we said ” People don’t realize that if a veteran or active duty military is foreclosed upon, or does a short sale, they lose their military benefits forever. That’s a pretty steep price to pay. Remember, we, the United States, are the ones moving them around. They don’t have a say, and yet they suffer all the consequences.”
We should clarify this. If a veteran has a VA loan and has a short sale or foreclosure on that loan, they will lose their ability to get another VA loan. If they are foreclosed or do a short sale on a conventional loan this will not affect their certificate of eligibility. They are still entitled to their other military benefits.
This week we’ll touch on some new items as they pertain to real estate. Did you know that per the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) active duty military and their families are protected from eviction if they lease a house or apartment and cannot make rent. Service members also have the right to terminate a housing lease when they receive Permanent Change of Station orders or when they are deployed to a new location for 90 days or more.
There is also protection against default judgments against anyone in the military. This is especially important in SW Florida. Often I am asked to attend evictions and lockout proceedings against former owners or tenants on behalf of a bank foreclosing on the property. Before a court can enter a default judgment against a military member for not responding to a lawsuit or appearing at trial, the plaintiff who is suing the Service member must provide the court with an affidavit stating the defendant is not in military service.
Imagine someone working here in SW Florida and being called up to serve and being deployed overseas to Afghanistan or anywhere else the military needs them. They receive regular military pay during that time, not the regular pay they might be accustomed to. Just imagine if they came home and the landlord or bank evicted them while they were gone. How would you feel if this happened to you? For the privilege of serving our country, many service members returned home only to find their houses were foreclosed upon and sold to someone else. That’s quite a kick in the pants.
The SCRA creates rights for our Service members, like the right to terminate a lease if they are called, protection against foreclosure, health insurance protection, motor vehicle lease protection, and so on. There are many details that cannot be explained in a short article like this. I would highly recommend Service members contact their local AFLA office or visit http://legalassistance.law.af.mil A quick and easy way to read up on this act is go to www.Military.com and type SCRA in the search box. From there you’ll be able to read up on the entire act. This information is important to Service members, landlords, real estate agents, and the public in general.
I’d also highly recommend agents and lenders take the Military Residential Specialist course. There is so much more information you’ll learn that will not only help your business, but will also help educate the public and Service members as to options in dealing with military and their benefits. If you’d like more information on this course, feel free to contact me at Brett@Topagent.com
A few weeks ago I met with several military leaders including Brigadier General Earl Jakes pictured above, the civilian assistant to the Secretary of the Army from Texas, and others as we talked about the course and ways to improve the education of agents and loan officers. We hope industry has a better understanding of protecting and meeting Service members needs, because I can assure you, our military is protecting and meeting our needs.