Maximizing Benefits: A Complete Guide to Military Rent by Owner

Discover the benefits of leasing to dependable military tenants, how to attract them, legal considerations, and tips for effective property management. Whether you're a seasoned landlord or new to the game, this guide will help you navigate the process with confidence and maximize your rental income.

By
Gemma Smith
|
Last Updated
February 15, 2024
Maximizing Benefits: A Complete Guide to Military Rent by Owner

When you're searching high and low for a reliable tenant for your rental property, be sure to consider the military community, who you can rent to through "Military Rent by Owner" — a rental arrangement that pairs property owners with financially stable, respectful, reliable renters who value community and security.

Imagine the peace of mind that comes from leasing your property to individuals who bring not only financial stability but also a sense of duty and care for their living spaces. Military tenants are known for their dependability and the structured support they receive, making them a great option for your property.

This approach focuses on the benefits for property owners, highlighting the ease with which you can fill your rental with tenants who appreciate the value of your property and are likely to take excellent care of it. From proximity to bases and schools to tenants who understand the importance of maintaining a respectful and tidy home, renting to military members opens the door to rental arrangements that are both profitable and fulfilling.

Ready to tap into the benefits of renting to those who serve? Learn more about it, and let's make your property stand out and meet your rental goals with ease and confidence.

Understanding Military Rent by Owner

This concept refers to a rental arrangement where property owners rent their properties directly to military personnel or their families, which can offer several advantages for both parties involved.

For property owners, renting to military members can be appealing due to the stability and reliability often associated with military tenants, who may have a steady income and government housing allowances.

For military tenants, these arrangements can provide flexible housing options to the unique demands of military life, including the potential for shorter leases and accommodations for PCS (Permanent Change of Station) moves.

Benefits to property owners renting to military families

There are many benefits to renting to military personnel as a property owner. Some of these are:

  • Stable tenants: Military tenants typically offer financial stability due to their regular income and housing allowances.
  • Understand military needs: Being familiar with the military lifestyle, including frequent relocations and the need for lease flexibility, can make your property more appealing to military renters.
  • Marketing your property: Listing your property on platforms catering to military families can increase visibility. Additionally, highlighting amenities particularly appealing to military families, such as proximity to bases, schools, and community support facilities, can be beneficial.
  • Legal and lease considerations: Familiarize yourself with laws that affect military renters, such as the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which provides protections around lease terminations for deployments or PCS orders.

Common features of military rental properties

If you're considering this type of rental, ensuring your property is catered to the military's unique needs is important. One of the most common features is the property's proximity to a military base. This offers convenience to active-duty service members who prefer to live near their stations to avoid long commutes and enjoy the perks of suburban home ownership.

These properties also offer amenities specifically designed to cater to the needs of military tenants. These include:

  • Gyms
  • Grocery stores
  • Pools
  • JAG
  • Car mechanics
  • Medical outlets
  • Social clubs
  • Community meeting spaces
  • Playgrounds
  • Larger homes designed to meet the needs of families

Attracting military tenants

Attracting the right tenants is key to a successful rental agreement. As mentioned in the last section, this involves ensuring that your property has:

  • A convenient location in relation to military installations.
  • Prominent online presence on platforms frequented by military families.
  • Family-friendly features.
  • A military discount or other military-friendly perks.
  • Rent adjusted to local BAH averages.
  • Professional images to showcase the property.

In addition to this, local military housing offices can be a valuable connection point, sharing your property listing information with military families and providing insights into their housing preferences and budget concerns. Offering appealing discounts and incentives can also enhance the attractiveness of a property to military tenants, which we'll discuss in greater detail a bit later.

Online listings and resources

The rise of the digital age has simplified the process for landlords to attract military tenants. There are specific websites dedicated to military housing listings, such as AHRN.com, Military for Sale by Owner, and MilitaryByOwner. Other commonly used platforms not exclusive to military renters include Zillow, Redfin, Trulia, Realtor.com, and Homes.com.

To get their military-friendly property in front of the right audience, landlords should:

  • Contact their local military housing office to inform them of the listing.
  • Post it on a military-specific website.
  • Offer a military discount and highlight perks in the rental listing that appeal to military tenants.
  • Include information regarding the property’s proximity to schools, parks, and local resources, making sure to emphasize safety and the benefits offered.
  • Utilize various online services and resources to understand the specific needs of military tenants.

Local military housing offices

Local military housing offices provide crucial support to service members by offering resources and assistance to those intending to rent out their homes. They help service members find tenants or house sitters, prepare their homes for rental, and offer information about privatized housing options.

These offices also assist service members in negotiating with local landlords or property managers for special reductions and benefits, provide rental housing referrals, and facilitate interactions with project owner property management staff.

Landlords can engage with local military housing offices through multiple channels, including accessing a military tenant advocate or directly contacting the local property management staff of the military housing office to connect with potential tenants.

Offering military discounts and incentives

Providing discounts and incentives to military tenants can significantly boost a property’s appeal. The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is a market-equitable allowance based on local housing costs that should be considered when determining rent amounts. The usual range for military discounts offered in the rental property market is approximately 5-15% off the advertised rental rate.

Offering military discounts on rental properties has the potential to:

  • Increase overall revenue by attracting more bookings from service members and veterans.
  • Help build a loyal customer base.
  • Increase visibility to military members seeking housing.

Legal considerations

Leasing to military tenants necessitates certain unique legal considerations. The Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act (SCRA) mandates courts to delay certain residential evictions for nonpayment of rent for up to 90 days or more, depending on the circumstances. It also safeguards the dependents of military tenants from eviction while the tenant is serving in the military.

Violating the SCRA can have severe consequences, including legal action, fines, and required restitution to affected service members.

As for the Fair Housing Laws, landlords are not legally obligated to rent to military tenants, as military status is not a protected class under the Fair Housing Act.

The Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

The Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act (SCRA) offers legal and financial protections to individuals who have served the country. It allows for the postponement or suspension of specific civil obligations, enabling service members to focus entirely on their duties.

For landlords, this means adhering to the provisions of the SCRA, which entail:

  • Refraining from imposing exorbitant interest rates.
  • Refraining from evicting service members without a court order.
  • Permitting service members to terminate their lease under specific conditions.

It is important to note that there are no exemptions or exceptions to the SCRA for landlords.

Fair Housing Laws

The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status. These protections apply to everyone, including military personnel.

Fair Housing Laws protect military service members in particular by prohibiting housing discrimination in various housing-related activities, such as renting a home and ensuring accessibility for those with disabilities.

Violating Fair Housing Laws can result in civil penalties of up to $16,000 for a first violation, increasing to $65,000 by the third violation. Furthermore, such violations can have a detrimental impact on a landlord’s reputation and ability to conduct future business.

Adapting lease agreements for military tenants

Crafting a lease agreement that addresses the distinct needs of military tenants is essential. Lease agreements should include clauses such as the military clause addendum, which allows for lease termination without penalty in case of deployment and ensures the return of security deposits. Furthermore, prorated rent clauses should accommodate occupation past the first day of the month.

The Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects service members on active duty from some of the traditional renters' limitations and penalties, including the ability to terminate residential leases and exemption from late fees and evictions without a court order. It is important to consider the SCRA when creating lease agreements for military tenants.

Early termination clauses

The early termination clause in a lease agreement enables the tenant to end the lease before its scheduled end date by giving written notice to the landlord. As the clause outlines, it may involve the tenant paying a termination charge or fee to compensate for the very little notice they're providing before leaving the landlord with a vacancy.

Due to the protections of the SCRA, a service member can terminate their lease early without penalties in the event of deployment or permanent relocation, ensuring their ability to fulfill service requirements.

It is recommended to include a specific phrase in the section of the lease regarding early termination clauses for military personnel requesting that the tenant provide the landlord a written notice indicating their intent to terminate their lease early, along with a copy of the military orders for relocation.

Rent adjustment based on BAH rates

The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is an allowance given to military personnel to help with housing costs when government-provided housing is not an option. It is determined based on location, pay grade, and dependency status.

Landlords can adjust rent by establishing a maximum rent amount corresponding to the location's BAH rate. This ensures that the monthly rent aligns with the average BAH rate received by military personnel, making it more affordable.

Aligning rent with BAH rates can make properties more appealing to prospective tenants by understanding their financial constraints and potentially increasing their appeal to military members.

Make sure that your rates align with adequate housing costs for civilians with similar income levels in the same area to prevent discrimination and adhere to fair housing laws.

Managing military rental properties

Effective management of military rental properties ensures a positive experience for landlords and tenants, and communication plays a significant role in this. Successful property management enables landlords to:

  • Comprehend the unique situation of military tenants.
  • Facilitate prompt accommodation to their needs.
  • Foster a positive and supportive environment for both parties.

In addition to communication, handling maintenance and repairs is also crucial. Military tenants are expected to follow the rules set by the Homeowners' Association, maintain the cleanliness and safety of the rental unit, and promptly notify the landlord of any maintenance issues.

Landlords, in turn, should establish clear communication channels to facilitate easy submission of maintenance requests by military tenants and to ensure timely repairs to uphold the condition of the property.

Offering your property to military families

Renting to military families presents a unique and rewarding opportunity for landlords. Each aspect of the process requires careful attention, including attracting military tenants, understanding military-specific renters' laws, and adapting lease agreements. 

By fostering open communication, offering appropriate discounts and incentives, and ensuring the property meets the unique needs of military tenants, landlords can create a mutually beneficial arrangement that ensures a steady income stream and offers a welcoming home for our service members.

Military homes for rent FAQs

Do people in the military pay rent?

People in the military often do not pay rent if they live in single or unaccompanied military installation housing or on military bases, but they may receive a housing allowance to cover living expenses if they live in off-base housing.

How does the military provide for housing?

The military provides housing support through various allowances, such as the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), which depends on your location, pay grade, and dependents. After initial training, soldiers can access on-base housing and receive BAH to help pay for living costs off-base.

What are military apartments called?

Military apartments are commonly referred to as "barracks," "dorms," or "bachelor quarters" and are often shared among service members.

Gemma Smith

With 7 years in property management, Gemma serves as a key content strategist at Azibo.com. While excelling in writing, editing, and SEO, she also enhances Azibo's social media presence. Passionately, Gemma educates others to make informed real estate investment decisions in the ever-changing market.

Rental rundown background image
Rental rundown hero image

Whether you’re a property owner, renter, property manager, or real estate agent, gain valuable insights, advice, and updates by joining our blog.

Subscriber Identity

I am a

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.