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Federal law requires the landlord to file an affidavit with the court that the tenant is not  on active duty service in the US Armed Forces when the tenant has not filed a response to the complaint within the time permitted after being served.  You have to file a “non-military affidavit” along with your motion for default.

The requirement is imposed by Federal law under the “service Members Civil Relief Act 50 U.S. C. §521 . “Protection of service members against default judgments.”  The requirement for an affidavit may be satisfied by a statement, declaration, verification, or certificate, in writing, subscribed and certified or declared to be true under penalty of perjury.

The Palm Beach Clerk of Court in Service Packet #47 (revised 10/20/2010) provides that the requirements for an “Affidavit of Military Status”  may be fulfilled in one of four ways:

1)  A sworn affidavit from the plaintiff landlord articulating facts that would be admissible in evidence.

2) A written admission from the defendant tenant.

3)  An online certificate obtained   from https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/scra/scraHome.do (requires defendant name, social security number or date of birth). There is no charge and you can print out the certificate directly from the website. If you do not know this information, you may have to skip trace your tenant.  Note:   If you get a warning on the internet about the security certificate,  dont worry.  This is because your computer did not come with the Department of Defense Security Plug-in already installed.  You can ignore the warning and proceed to the site.  The site also has instructions for getting the certificate.

4) Obtain certificates  by regular mail from each branch of service @ $5.20 each + SASE. This also requests tenant social security number and date of birth and is so impractical compared to the other choices,  I am not even going to bother listing the mailing addresses of all of the branches of service.

You can not prosecute an uncontested eviction without a “Non-Military Affidavit.” Get your tenant’s date of birth and social security number if you don’t already have it on file. You should be taking written applications and getting photo copies of the tenant’s identification anyway.  A background check is strongly recommended. Background checks can also include a verification of identity and confirmation of social security number.  You can also add a provision to your lease stating [ ] I am  [  ] I am not on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.

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