Avvo Rating Top Attorney
Avvo Rating badge
Federal Bar Association
Virginia State Bar
Department of the Army

SCRA Servicemember Civil Relief Act

On active duty or mobilized and a landlord, bank or car dealership is coming after you?

You may be protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act or SCRA. This law may protect you on financial obligations, rent or mortgages, especially when deployed overseas.

Cave & Freeburg, LLP, can help you in cases where the SCRA is violated by a landlord, bank or creditor.

The Veterans Benefit Act of 2010 even allows you to recover damages, legal expenses and attorney’s fees if the SCRA was violated!

When does the SCRA Apply?

The SCRA was passed to protect service members from having to worry about their property and families while deployed or on a mission. The SCRA applies when military service “materially affects” the service member’s legal or financial responsibilities. For
example, if a reservist is called to active duty that may lower the reservist’s income and make it impossible to meet mortgage expenses. Or, an active duty service member is sent on an unaccompanied tour overseas and has to pay rent in two different locations.

The SCRA generally applies to reservists when they are called to active duty for mobilization or for their two week annual training.
The SCRA generally applies to members of the National Guard who are called to active duty for a period of more than 30 days in a row for a national emergency.

There are a number of steps you should take once you receive orders and while on orders. 

You should also be very careful and consult with a lawyer should you get "legal" mail, dunning letters, or similar payment demands. This is especially true if you get a summons or similar document from a court telling you to be present for a hearing/trial because you are being sued on a debt or lien enforcement. You may not be able to stop a court action, but the SCRA is designed to get you a sufficient delay in any hearing so you can be present to protect your interests.

Some of the protections include:
  • A limit of 6% on interest for some debts (e.g. credit cards and mortgages) during the time of service.
  • If you are sued on your debt you may be able to get protection from "default" judgments if you can't get to court for a hearing.
  • There some protections against foreclosure of mortgages.
  • You may be able to avoid having your car repossessed while in active service. 
  • You may be protected against your apartment lease being terminated.
  • If you have stuff or a car in storage, you may have some protections against lien enforcements.

The SCRA can also apply to your "dependents" in certain circumstances.

You will need to have evidence of your service. You can get an appropriate certificate by going to "submit a Single Record Request to obtain a report certifying Title 10 active duty status for provisions under SCRA."
Client Reviews
Many years after retiring from the USN, I suddenly found myself in a very unwelcome legal matter with the Navy. It was a total shock and I was very concerned as to the impact this would have on me and my family. Philip was so helpful, truly a calming force, and his legal help was invaluable to me, I am so thankful that I availed myself of his services! Rob
Phil Cave has helped me through NJP and restoration of my security clearance. He even came to visit me in Spain. I never thought I would work again and he certainly through with advise and guidance that we're exactly spot on. He is my hero and thanks to him I gave my life back... Bryan
Mr. Cave saved my military retirement! His promise to me from day one was that he would fight as hard as he could he right the wring that had been done to me. And he did! I am so very thankful and grateful to him. He genuinely cared about me and made my case his priority. He used all his experience and knowledge to put forth a good defense. I am very pleased with him and will recommend him to anyone in need of an attorney. Crystal