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I am on active military service and my former landlord has sued me for damages to my former residence. I received a copy of the lawsuit but was unable to file an answer. A default judgment was entered against me. What can I do?

The Service Members Civil Relief Act (S A) permits active duty service members,

who are unable to appear in court or at an administrative proceeding due to their military duties,

to postpone the proceeding for a mandatory mmum of ninety (90) days upon the service

member's

request.

request

must

be

initing

and

(1)

explain

why

current

military

duty

materially affects the service members ability to appear, (2) provide a date when the service

member can appear, and (3) include a lefrom the commander stating that the service

member's duties preclude his or her appearance and t at he is not authorized to take leave at the

time of the hearing. This letter orrequest to the court will not constitute a legal appearance in

court.

Further

delays

may

be

granted

at

th scretion

of

the

court, nd

if

the

court

denies

additional delays, an attorney must be appointed to represent the service member.

If a default judgment is entered against a service member during his or her active duty

service, or within 60 days thereafter, the Service Members Civil Relief Act allows the service

member to reopen the default judgment and set it aside. In order to set aside a default judgment,

the service member must show that he was prejudiced by not being able to appear in person, and

that he has good legal defenses to the claims against him.

I signed a year lease but I am in the military service and must relocate. Can I terminate my lease?

Yes, under both state and federal law you can terminate your lease early. The federal

law, the Service Members Civil Relief Act, allowsthe termination of leases entered into before

the tenant enters military service and leases entered into while the tenant is in military service.

The Act applies to residentialeases for housing occupied ointended to be occupied by the

service member or his dependents. The tenant can terminate the lease at any time after entry into

military service or the date the tenant receives military orders for a permanent change of station

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