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Don’t sign that lease! DOD orders “Stop Movement” for all domestic travel

By Jim Tripp | JBSA Legal Assistance Attorney | March 24, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —

To combat the spread of COVID-19, all Department of Defense military personnel will “stop movement” – meaning no Permanent Change of Station (PCS) or Temporary Duty (TDY) travel – effective March 16 through May 11, 2020. 

 

The policy applies to service members, DOD civilians and DOD family members whose transportation is government-funded.

There are limited exceptions to the policy for humanitarian reasons, extreme hardship, or when the travel is determined to be mission-essential. 

The approval authority for exceptions is reserved to general/flag officers who have been delegated approval authority.

Service members who were planning to PCS but are now prevented from doing so should not sign a lease for a dwelling at their new duty location. 

Section 3955 of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, or SCRA does permit the termination of leases (auto and dwelling) based on the receipt of certain military orders, but the DOD Stop Movement Policy is not a qualifying movement order, so service members who do sign a lease for a dwelling at their new duty location may still be liable for rent and other obligations under the lease – even if they can’t move to the new duty location.

If you have already signed a lease for your new duty location but are now prevented from PCSing, you may be able to negotiate with the landlord. Legal assistance attorneys can assist in drafting a lease termination request and help negotiate with a landlord to terminate a lease.

A fact sheet on the DOD Stop Movement Policy is available at https://media.defense.gov/2020/Mar/19/2002266939/-1/-1/1/COVID-19-TRAVEL-RESTRICTIONS-FAQ.PDF.