10 U.S.C. § 2894

Current through P.L. 117-42 (published on www.congress.gov on 09/30/2021)
Section 2894 - Landlord-tenant dispute resolution process and treatment of certain payments during process
(a) PROCESS REQUIRED; PURPOSE.-The Secretary concerned shall implement a standardized formal dispute resolution process to ensure the prompt and fair resolution of disputes that arise between landlords providing housing units and tenants residing in housing units concerning maintenance and repairs, damage claims, rental payments, move-out charges, and such other issues relating to housing units as the Secretary determines appropriate.
(b) PROCESS ELEMENTS.-
(1) The dispute resolution process shall include the process by which a tenant may request that certain payments otherwise authorized to be paid to a landlord are withheld, as provided in subsection (e).
(2) The process shall designate the installation or regional commander in charge of oversight of housing units as the deciding authority under the dispute resolution process.
(3) The Secretary concerned shall establish a standardized mechanism and forms by which a tenant of a housing unit may submit, through online or other means, a request for resolution of a landlord-tenant dispute through the dispute resolution process.
(4) The Secretary shall ensure that, in preparing a request described in paragraph (3), a tenant has access to advice and assistance from a military housing advocate employed by the military department concerned or a military legal assistance attorney under section 1044 of this title.
(5) The Secretary concerned shall minimize costs to tenants for participation in the dispute resolution process.
(6) The dispute resolution process shall require the installation or regional commander (as the case may be) to record each dispute in the complaint database established under section 2894a of this title.
(c) RESOLUTION PROCESS.-
(1) Not later than two business days after receiving a request from a tenant for resolution of a landlord-tenant dispute through the dispute resolution process, the Secretary concerned shall-
(A) notify the tenant that the request has been received;
(B) transmit a copy of the request to the installation or regional commander (as the case may be), housing management office responsible for the housing unit, and the landlord of the housing unit; and
(C) if the request includes a request to withhold payments under subsection (e), initiate the process under such subsection.
(2) For purposes of conducting an assessment necessary to render a decision under the dispute resolution process, both the landlord and representatives of the installation housing management office may access the housing unit at a time and for a duration mutually agreed upon amongst the parties.
(3) Not later than seven business days after the date on which the request was received by the installation housing management office, such office shall complete an investigation that includes a physical inspection and transmit the results of the investigation to the installation or regional commander (as the case may be).
(4) Before making any decision with respect to a dispute under the dispute resolution process, the commander shall certify that the commander has solicited recommendations or information relating to the dispute from, at a minimum, the following persons:
(A) The chief of the installation housing management office.
(B) A representative of the landlord for the housing unit.
(C) The tenant submitting the request for dispute resolution.
(D) A qualified judge advocate or civilian attorney who is a Federal employee.
(E) If the dispute involves maintenance or another facilities-related matter, a civil engineer.
(5)
(A) The commander shall make a decision with respect to a request under the dispute resolution process not later than 30 calendar days after the request was submitted.
(B) The commander may take longer than such 30-day period in limited circumstances as determined by the Secretary of Defense, but in no case shall such a decision be made more than 60 calendar days after the request was submitted.
(6) Except as provided in paragraph (5)(B), a final decision shall be transmitted to the tenant, landlord, and the installation or regional commander (as the case may be) not later than 30 calendar days after the request was submitted.
(7) The decision shall include instructions for distribution of any funds that were withheld under subsection (e) and such instructions for the landlord for further remediation as the commander considers necessary.
(8) The decision by the commander under this subsection shall be final.
(d) EFFECT OF FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH DECISION.-
(1) If the final decision rendered under subsection (c) for resolution of a landlord-tenant dispute includes instructions for the landlord responsible for the housing unit to further remediate the housing unit, the decision shall specify a reasonable period of time, but not less than 10 business days, for the landlord to complete the remediation.
(2) If the landlord does not remediate the issues before the end of the time period specified in the final decision in a manner consistent with the instructions contained in the decision, any amounts payable to the landlord for the housing unit shall be reduced by 10 percent for each period of five calendar days during which the issues remain unremediated.
(e) REQUEST TO WITHHOLD PAYMENTS DURING RESOLUTION PROCESS.-
(1) As part of the submission of a request for resolution of a landlord-tenant dispute through the dispute resolution process regarding maintenance guidelines or procedures or habitability, the tenant may request that all or part of the payments described in paragraph (3) for lease of the housing unit be segregated and not used by the property owner, property manager, or landlord pending completion of the dispute resolution process.
(2) The amount allowed to be withheld under paragraph (1) shall be limited to amounts associated with the period during which-
(A) the landlord has not met maintenance guidelines and procedures established by the Department of Defense, either through contract or otherwise; or
(B) the housing unit is uninhabitable according to State and local law for the jurisdiction in which the housing unit is located.
(3) This subsection applies to the following:
(A) Any basic allowance for housing payable to the tenant (including for any dependents of the tenant in the tenant's household) under section 403 of title 37.
(B) All or part of any pay of a tenant subject to allotment as described in section 2882(c) of this title.
(f) DISCLOSURE OF RIGHTS.-
(1) Each housing management office of the Department of Defense shall disclose in writing to each new tenant of a housing unit, upon the signing of the lease for the housing unit, the tenant's rights under this section and the procedures under this section for submitting a request for resolution of a landlord-tenant dispute through the dispute resolution process, including the ability to submit a request to withhold payments during the resolution process.
(2) The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that each lease entered into with a tenant for a housing unit clearly expresses, in a separate addendum, the dispute resolution procedures.
(g) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION ON USE OF OTHER ADJUDICATIVE BODIES.-Nothing in this section or any other provision of law shall be construed to prohibit a tenant of a housing unit from pursuing a claim against a landlord in any adjudicative body with jurisdiction over the housing unit or the claim.

10 U.S.C. § 2894

Added Pub. L. 116-92, div. B, title XXX, §3022(a), Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 1932; amended Pub. L. 116-283, div. B, title XXVIII, §2811(g), Jan. 1, 2021, 134 Stat. 4324.

AMENDMENTS2021-Subsec. (b)(6). Pub. L. 116-283, §2811(g)(1), added par. (6).Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 116-283, §2811(g)(2)(A), substituted "two business days" for "24 hours" in introductory provisions.Subsec. (c)(3). Pub. L. 116-283, §2811(g)(2)(B), inserted "business" before "days" and ", such office" before "shall complete".Subsec. (c)(4). Pub. L. 116-283, §2811(g)(2)(C), inserted ", at a minimum," before "the following persons" in introductory provisions.Subsec. (c)(5). Pub. L. 116-283, §2811(g)(2)(D), inserted "calendar" before "days" in two places. Subsec. (c)(6). Pub. L. 116-283, §2811(g)(2)(E), added par. (6) and struck out former par. (6) which read as follows: "A final decision will be transmitted to the tenant and landlord no later than 30 days from initial receipt by the office of the commander, except as provided in paragraph (5)(B)."Subsecs. (d), (e). Pub. L. 116-283, §2811(g)(3), added subsecs. (d) and (e) and struck out former subsecs. (d) and (e) which related to effect of failure to comply with decision and request to withhold payments during resolution process, respectively.

TIMING OF ESTABLISHMENT OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCESS Pub. L. 116-92, div. B, title XXX, §3022(c), Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 1934, provided that: "Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Dec. 20, 2019], the Secretary of Defense shall establish the dispute resolution process required under section 2894 of title 10, United States Code, as added by subsection (a)."

LANDLORD AGREEMENTS Pub. L. 116-92, div. B, title XXX, §3022(d), Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 1934, provided that:"(1) IN GENERAL.-Not later than February 1, 2020, the Secretary of Defense shall seek agreement from all landlords to participate in the dispute resolution and payment-withholding processes required under section 2894 of title 10, United States Code, as added by subsection (a). "(2) SUBMITTAL OF LIST TO CONGRESS.-Not later than March 1, 2020, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the congressional defense committees [Committees on Armed Services and Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives] a list of any landlords that did not agree under paragraph (1) to participate in the dispute resolution and payment-withholding processes."(3) CONSIDERATION OF LACK OF AGREEMENT IN FUTURE CONTRACTS.-The Secretary of Defense and the Secretaries of the military departments shall include any lack of agreement under paragraph (1) as past performance considered under section 2891b of title 10, United States Code, as added by section 3015, with respect to entering into or renewing any future contracts regarding privatized military housing." [For definitions of "landlord" and "privatized military housing" as used in section 3022(d) of Pub. L. 116-92 set out above, see section 3001(a) of Pub. L. 116-92 set out as a note under section 2821 of this title.]

includes
"includes" means "includes but is not limited to"; and
Secretary concerned
The term "Secretary concerned" means-(A) the Secretary of the Army, with respect to matters concerning the Army;(B) the Secretary of the Navy, with respect to matters concerning the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard when it is operating as a service in the Department of the Navy;(C) the Secretary of the Air Force, with respect to matters concerning the Air Force and the Space Force; and(D) the Secretary of Homeland Security, with respect to matters concerning the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in the Department of the Navy.
congressional defense committees
The term "congressional defense committees" means- (A) the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate; and(B) the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.
military departments
The term "military departments" means the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force.
pay
The term "pay" includes basic pay, special pay, retainer pay, incentive pay, retired pay, and equivalent pay, but does not include allowances.