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§ 3951. Evictions and distress

[Section 301 of the Act.]

(a) Court-ordered eviction

(1) In general- Except by court order, a landlord (or another person with paramount title) may not--

(A) evict a servicemember, or the dependents of a servicemember, during a period of military service of the servicemember, from premises--

(i) that are occupied or intended to be occupied primarily as a residence; and

(ii) for which the monthly rent does not exceed $2,400, as adjusted under paragraph (2) for years after 2003; or

(B) subject such premises to a distress during the period of military service.

(2) Housing price inflation adjustment

(A) For calendar years beginning with 2004, the amount in effect under paragraph (1)(A)(ii) shall be increased by the housing price inflation adjustment for the calendar year involved.

(B) For purposes of this paragraph--

(i) The housing price inflation adjustment for any calendar year is the percentage change (if any) by which--

(I) the CPI housing component for November of the preceding calendar year, exceeds

(II) the CPI housing component for November of 1984.

(ii) The term "CPI housing component" means the index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor known as the Consumer Price Index, All Urban Consumers, Rent of Primary Residence, U.S. City Average.

(3) Publication of housing price inflation adjustment

The Secretary of Defense shall cause to be published in the Federal Register each year the amount in effect under paragraph (1)(A)(ii) for that year following the housing price inflation adjustment for that year pursuant to paragraph (2). Such publication shall be made for a year not later than 60 days after such adjustment is made for that year.

Editor's Note: On January 24, 2020, the Office of the Under Secretary (Personnel and Readiness), Department of Defense, published a Notice at 85 FR 4296 announcing the 2019 rent threshold under the SCRA. Applying the inflation adjustment for 2019, the maximum monthly renatl amount as of January 1, 2020, will be $3,991.90.

(b) Stay of execution

(1) Court authority

Upon an application for eviction or distress with respect to premises covered by this section, the court may on its own motion and shall, if a request is made by or on behalf of a servicemember whose ability to pay the agreed rent is materially affected by military service--

(A) stay the proceedings for a period of 90 days, unless in the opinion of the court, justice and equity require a longer or shorter period of time; or

(B) adjust the obligation under the lease to preserve the interests of all parties.

(2) Relief to landlord

If a stay is granted under paragraph (1), the court may grant to the landlord (or other person with paramount title) such relief as equity may require.

(c) Misdemeanor

Except as provided in subsection (a), a person who knowingly takes part in an eviction or distress described in subsection (a), or who knowingly attempts to do so, shall be fined as provided in title 18 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

(d) Rent allotment from pay of servicemember

To the extent required by a court order related to property which is the subject of a court action under this section, the Secretary concerned shall make an allotment from the pay of a servicemember to satisfy the terms of such order, except that any such allotment shall be subject to regulations prescribed by the Secretary concerned establishing the maximum amount of pay of servicemembers that may be allotted under this subsection.

(e) Limitation of applicability

Section 3932 of this title is not applicable to this section.

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