A Twitter chat is like a meeting on Twitter; it has a specific discussion topic and a scheduled start time. Using the hashtag #MilCents at the end of each tweet, MFAN will ask questions to a group of financial experts.
Last week, MFAN hosted the quarterly meeting of the Military Housing Roundtable (MHR). The primary goal of the MHR is to support all military families in their homes regardless of where they choose to live and to ensure access to healthy, safe, and affordable housing. (Want more information on the roundtable and other coalitions MFAN convenes? Click here.)
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) – We’ve heard from you (and felt ourselves) that BAH continues to be a pain point for military families. We invited a representative from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to discuss the GAO report on BAH that was released on January 25th. What we learned from the resulting discussion is that the process for calculating BAH is incredibly complicated and involves lots of moving pieces. GAO has made recommendations to DoD and our group is following this carefully. In the meantime, to understand how your full BAH rate is calculated and learn more about their recommendations, you can access the full report here. Don’t have time for a deep dive? Click here for report highlights.
2. It is illegal to make you waive your SCRA rights. We know that when you’re renting a place to live, the paperwork mountain is a lot. But it’s really important that you know what you’re signing. If a landlord tells you that you cannot rent a place without waiving your SCRA rights and/or makes you sign a document asserting the same, that’s not only not okay – it’s not allowed.
If this has happened to you, you should notify the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and let them know so that they can help enforce the protections that are your right. You can file a CFPB complaint here.
3. CDC moratorium on residential evictions – The good news is that the CDC has stated that tenant evictions could be bad for efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. So you can’t be evicted related to nonpayment of your rent. The bad news is that this moratorium doesn’t say anything about the end of a lease. If you’re at the end of your lease agreement and you‘re behind on your rent, there is no protection currently in place to prevent a situation where your landlord refuses to renew the lease.
While a new COVID stimulus package has been proposed and the moratorium has been extended, it’s important to think now about how you’re going to pay your rent or catch up on past-due rent if this has been a challenge for you. Use the time you have, while you’re still protected by a lease agreement, to have a plan in place for when that contract expires.
MFAN and its colleagues on the MHR will continue to keep you in the loop on information that affects military and veteran housing.
The work of the MHR has been made possible thanks to the generous support of Wells Fargo.
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