Despite an attempt from the property owner, Army staff Sgt. Mitchell Smith, currently serving with the National Guard in Afghanistan, will not be evicted from the home he rents in Park Township, Mich., according to Fox 17.
Jordan Lankheet bought the house in February and tried to evict Smith and his fiancee Wendy Dolmon, who is staying at the home. But Holland District Judge Bradley Knoll dismissed the eviction case Monday, according to the Holland Sentinel.
Smith has rented the home on a month-to-month basis for two years, but Lankheet only bought it in February, according to MLive. Lankheet purchased the property after Freddie Mac foreclosed on the previous owners, and he wanted to move in himself.
According to MLive, Lankheet's attorney said his client was not in the wrong for wanting to move into the house he had purchased for himself and his three children.
Smith actually tried to purchase the home himself, the Holland Sentinel reported. But his attempt failed after documentation showing his employment status arrived two days after Lankheet's purchase was finalized.
Smith's attorney Joe Rossi, a retired Marine officer, argued for the lease to be extended through January to allow Smith time to adjust after returning from Afghanistan. The judge created a new contract that allows Smith to rent the home through Nov. 1, after he returns from duty.
Smith and Dolmon are protected as renters under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. The SCRA offers a variety of protections to relieve stress on military families. The law has been critical in protecting thousands of service members who were foreclosed on illegally.