Off-Campus Community Living University of Illinois Off-Campus Community Living Student Affairs

Military Release Clause

If you are called to active duty in the military, you can be released from your obligations under a lease; HOWEVER, your roommates will still be held liable for the FULL rent, including your share, unless you have a military release clause included in the lease.

A federal law, the Service Members' Civil Relief Act (SMCR) provides for a member of the armed forces to terminate obligations under a lease contract, after being called to active duty, by providing the landlord with notice, IN WRITING, which shall not be effective until thirty days after the first date on which the next rent is due. For example, if rent is due on the first of the month, notice given March 23 would terminate the lease on May 1.

If you want to protect against being liable for a roommate's rent after your roommate leaves for military service, ask the landlord to include a clause in your lease such as the following:

Lessor agrees that if any individual who has signed this lease is called to active military duty, Lessor shall release that individual from the lease and shall reduce the total rent due under the contract, for the balance of the term, by _____% commencing 30 days after receiving notice from the tenant that s/he has received orders to report for active duty.

Be sure that the landlord signs or places his/her initials next to this clause so that it is properly added to the lease.


The Tenant Union does not provide legal services of any kind. All information provided in this publication is intended to help the average person prevent problems and deal with common concerns of renting. When legal help is needed, always consult with an attorney at law.