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Understanding Tenant Responsibilities when terminating Rental Contracts Due to PCS Orders

A Guide for PCS Families in the Kaiserslautern Military Community


For U.S. military personnel and civilian employees stationed overseas, understanding the nuances of terminating a rental contract due to Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders or other circumstances is crucial. This blog aims to shed light on the responsibilities of tenants in such situations, ensuring a smooth and respectful process for both parties involved.


Tenant Responsibilities in Contract Termination

When faced with the need to terminate a rental contract early, due to PCS orders or other reasons, tenants must follow specific protocols to ensure legal compliance and maintain good relations with their landlords.


Notifying the Landlord of PCS Orders

  • Timely Communication: Inform your landlord as soon as you receive your PCS orders. Early notification allows the landlord sufficient time to find a new tenant, reducing potential financial loss. (30 days notice in Germany is needed)

  • Written Notice: Provide a written notice of termination, clearly stating the reason (in this case, PCS orders) and the intended date of departure.

  • Proof of Orders: Attach a copy of your PCS orders with the notice as proof of your mandatory relocation.


Legal and Contractual Considerations

  • Review Your Lease: Before taking any action, review your lease agreement for specific clauses regarding early termination and required notice periods.

  • Consult Legal Assistance: Military personnel can consult with their base legal assistance office for guidance on the correct procedures and tenant rights.

  • German Tenancy Law: Understand that German tenancy laws may differ from U.S. laws. Ensure compliance with local regulations.


Final Steps

  • Property Inspection: Before leaving, arrange a final inspection of the property with your landlord. Ensure the property is in good condition to avoid disputes over security deposits.

  • Settle Outstanding Payments: Pay any outstanding rent or bills before your departure.


Process of Setting Up Utilities

Use the initial meter readings to register with utility providers in your area. Utilities run continuously, and the payment responsibility shifts to you once these readings are registered. Sign up for services using these readings as your billing cycle’s starting point.



Early termination of a rental contract due to PCS orders or other valid reasons requires careful handling. Adherence to legal requirements, clear communication, and a respectful approach towards your landlord are key. By understanding and fulfilling your responsibilities as a tenant, you can ensure a smoother transition to your next assignment or location.