(a) For purposes of this section, “ dependent,” “military service,” and “servicemember” have the meanings assigned by 50 App. U.S.C. Section 511 .
(b) A tenant who is a servicemember or a dependent of a servicemember may vacate the dwelling leased by the tenant and avoid liability for future rent and all other sums due under the lease for terminating the lease and vacating the dwelling before the end of the lease term if:
(1) the lease was executed by or on behalf of a person who, after executing the lease or during the term of the lease, enters military service; or
(2) a servicemember, while in military service, executes the lease and after executing the lease receives military orders:
(A) for a permanent change of station; or
(B) to deploy with a military unit for a period of 90 days or more.
(c) A tenant who terminates a lease under Subsection (b) shall deliver to the landlord or landlord's agent:
(1) a written notice of termination of the lease; and
(2) a copy of an appropriate government document providing evidence of the tenant's entrance into military service if Subsection (b)(1) applies or a copy of the servicemember's military orders if Subsection (b)(2) applies.
(d) Termination of a lease under this section is effective:
(1) in the case of a lease that provides for monthly payment of rent, on the 30th day after the first date on which the next rental payment is due after the date on which the notice under Subsection (c)(1) is delivered; or
(2) in the case of a lease other than a lease described by Subdivision (1), on the last day of the month following the month in which the notice under Subsection (c)(1) is delivered.
(e) A landlord, not later than the 30th day after the effective date of the termination of a lease under this section, shall refund to the residential tenant terminating the lease under Subsection (b) all rent or other amounts paid in advance under the lease for any period after the effective date of the termination of the lease.
(f) Except as provided by Subsection (g), this section does not affect a tenant's liability for delinquent, unpaid rent or other sums owed to the landlord before the lease was terminated by the tenant under this section.
(g) A tenant who terminates a lease under Subsection (b) is released from all liability for any delinquent, unpaid rent owed to the landlord by the tenant on the effective date of the lease termination if the lease does not contain language substantially equivalent to the following:
“Tenants may have special statutory rights to terminate the lease early in certain situations involving family violence or a military deployment or transfer.”
(h) A landlord who violates this section is liable to the tenant for actual damages, a civil penalty in an amount equal to the amount of one month's rent plus $500, and attorney's fees.
(i) Except as provided by Subsection (j), a tenant's right to terminate a lease before the end of the lease term, vacate the dwelling, and avoid liability under this section may not be waived by a tenant.
(j) A tenant and a landlord may agree that the tenant waives a tenant's rights under this section if the tenant or any dependent living with the tenant moves into base housing or other housing within 30 miles of the dwelling. A waiver under this section must be signed and in writing in a document separate from the lease and must comply with federal law. A waiver under this section does not apply if:
(1) the tenant or the tenant's dependent moves into housing owned or occupied by family or relatives of the tenant or the tenant's dependent; or
(2) the tenant and the tenant's dependent move, wholly or partly, because of a significant financial loss of income caused by the tenant's military service.
(k) For purposes of Subsection (j), “significant financial loss of income” means a reduction of 10 percent or more of the tenant's household income caused by the tenant's military service. A landlord is entitled to verify the significant financial loss of income in order to determine whether a tenant is entitled to terminate a lease if the tenant has signed a waiver under this section and moves within 30 miles of the dwelling into housing that is not owned or occupied by family or relatives of the tenant or the tenant's dependent. For purposes of this subsection, a pay stub or other statement of earnings issued by the tenant's employer is sufficient verification.
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