DVIDS – News – Fort Bragg legal provides information, help for smooth PCS

FORT BRAGG, NC — It’s summer and for some in Fort Bragg, it means backyard barbecue time, while for others, it’s the permanent change of station season.

As soldiers and families prepare to leave the area, both the XVIII Airborne Corps Legal
Assistance Office and the 82nd Airborne Division Legal Assistance Office are here to help with:
Need PCS legal aid.

“The PCS season presents some specific legal challenges for our soldiers and families and we want to make sure they are prepared,” said Captain Anthony Kratz, chief of legal counsel for the XVIII Airborne Corps. “This guidance is by no means exhaustive, and if a soldier thinks he or she has a problem with legal aid, we want him or her to know that the legal aid office is there to help.”

One area where legal challenges remain is the contract and lease review process. It is important to look at the contract with the moving company and make sure that all terms are acceptable.

In addition, caution is key when reviewing the lease. The landlord is responsible for notifying the tenant of any material problems in the rented property, including invisible defects and repairs.

Finally, tenants should be aware of exemptions from the implied warranty of habitability, which guarantees that the rental has no major defects that would make living there significantly uncomfortable.

“Renters should always be vigilant whether he or she has relinquished his or her Service
Rights of Civil Relief Act members,” Kratz emphasized. “SRA waivers must be made in a separate addendum to the lease and cannot be folded into the default language of the lease.”

The SCRA provides significant protection for service personnel before and during the shift. It allows a service worker and his or her family members to terminate residential and car leases if he or she receives orders for a permanent station change.

For residential leases, written notice and a copy of the orders must be provided to the owner of the property. The rental agreement will then end at the earliest 30 days after the next rental payment.

Under the SCRA, landlords are not allowed to charge early termination fees, including refunds of rental concessions or discounts. In addition, the landlord must receive any prepayment of the rent
30 days.

Vehicle lease may be terminated when a soldier receives orders to PCS outside the continental United States, or resides in Hawaii or Alaska and receives orders outside those states.

The effective date of termination for car leases is the date of proper notice of delivery and return of the car, up to a maximum of 15 days. In addition, the creditor who leases the vehicle must repay capitalized amounts of cost reduction to the service representative.

“It is important for soldiers to know that the SCRA provides significantly more protection to those materially affected by military service beyond PCS considerations,” Kratz said.
Another legal consideration is the Personnel Claims Act. The Damage Claims Act may cover household goods that have been damaged or destroyed during the PCS relocation process.

The process for claiming household goods is the filing of DD 1840 Joint Statement of
Loss or Damage on Delivery and DD 1840R Notice of Loss or Damage no later than 70 days from the date of delivery. These documents constitute an official notification to the contracted carrier of the claimed losses and/or damage and initiate the claim process.

“One of the best ways to maintain claims of destruction or damage to moved items is to document and catalog all household items that are moved,” said Capt. Hayley Boyd, 82nd Airborne Division’s chief of legal counsel. “Make sure to take pictures of every item, especially the most valuable and fragile items.”

A final legal consideration is the power of attorney.

“Many soldiers are familiar with POAs because of experiences with Soldier Readiness Processing,” Boyd explains. “However, many are unaware that POAs can be used to delegate power to another person, known as the agent, to make decisions about property, finances, investments, or medical care for the delegate.”

If a soldier is not present to sign legal documents such as leases, contracts, or other property documents, he or she can provide a POA to a designated and trusted agent. The Delegated Agent does not need to be present to sign the POA, but must be informed of the Delegated Powers. POAs can have an expiration date of up to two years.

“We know how stressful the PCS season can be,” Boyd said. “The legal side of the relocation process can be tough and mentally taxing. We are here to help our soldiers and families, not only through the relocation process, but also through other legal assistance issues.”

For assistance in any of these areas or other legal assistance matters, please contact the XVIII
Airborne Corps Legal Assistance Office at 910-396-6113 or the 82nd Airborne Corps Legal
Assistance office at [email protected]

(Story by 1st Lt. Shelby Brown, Legal Aid Attorney, XVIII Airborne Corps and 1st Lt. Henry Carras, Legal Aid Attorney, XVIII Airborne Corps)

Date taken: 07.05.2022
Date posted: 07.05.2022 13:27
Story ID: 424347

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