One of the perks of serving in the military is having access to free legal services. With offices on most bases across the country, military attorneys (judge advocates, or JAG) are available to help servicemembers with a myriad of legal issues, from writing a will to representing a servicemember in a divorce or legal separation. In some cases, the legal assistance office on your base can also help with housing or landlord problems, but only if your housing is not managed by a private contractor. Unfortunately, less than two percent of base housing is owned and managed by the Department of Defense (DoD); the remaining 98 percent is privatized and your base legal office will not be able to represent you in a dispute.
Tenants Get Lost in Deal Between Military and Private Landlords
Because the military has contracts with the property management companies running its base housing, it would be a conflict of interest for military lawyers to sue landlords. This arrangement hurts servicemembers in multiple ways. While state or local law may allow a tenant to withhold rent until a repair is made, servicemembers do not have this option when their housing allowance goes straight to the landlord. Tenants in base housing also cannot report dangerous conditions to local authorities because their inspectors will not be permitted on base.
What Can You Do If You Are Stuck in This Trap?
While you may be advised to the contrary by your landlord and by the legal assistance office on your base, you do have the right to hire your own private attorney to represent you in a landlord dispute. Regardless of the contract between your landlord and your employer, you are entitled to exercise your rights under local, state, and federal laws and, as a Marine and consumer attorney in private practice, I am uniquely qualified to represent you when you are living with mold, rodents, lead paint, or other uninhabitable conditions.
Call Me for a Free Consultation
No matter which branch of the military you are in or where you are stationed, I am available to hear your story and discuss your options. Call me at 855.982.2400 or fill out the form on this page for a free case review. You have rights and I am here to protect them!