Why You Don't Want an Eviction on Your Record

August 26, 2020
Gaston Derchi
August 26, 2020

Why You Don't Want an Eviction on Your Record

If you’ve been evicted from previous housing or are at risk of being evicted, you may be wondering exactly what effect that will have, and how the information will be revealed to future landlords. A good place to start is knowing all about public eviction records and how that system works.

The vast majority of landlords will perform a rental background check on applicants before renting to them. This includes a check of public records for any past evictions. If you have an eviction in your past that resulted from a court judgment (as opposed to, say, your brother or girlfriend kicking you out of their apartment), you can expect it will come to the attention of your prospective landlord.

First things first, let’s run through what an eviction is, what it entails, and see just how it affects your credit.


What is an Eviction?

An eviction is a legal process in which a landlord removes a tenant from a rental property. Many evictions happen because the tenant has not paid rent, or even because the tenant is habitually late on the rent. Your lease may outline other reasons you can be evicted. For example, your landlord may be able to evict you for damaging the property or for using the property for illegal reasons.

Eviction laws vary by state, but an eviction typically doesn't come at a surprise. Most states require the landlord to give notice to the tenant to clear up the issue or leave the rental property before the legal eviction process can begin.

You can move out when you receive this notice and avoid the court eviction process altogether. Moving once you've received the notice may keep the eviction off your credit report, as long as the landlord doesn't have to file for an eviction in court and if you pay any rent or fees that are still due. 

If you don't vacate the property after receiving the initial notice, the landlord may file papers with your local court to have you evicted. Note that you should respond to any legal summons even if you've already moved out of the property.


What Happens If You Get Evicted?

If you know you’re at fault or the judgment doesn’t go your way, you are likely going to have to move out of the rental property. It’s important to know how the eviction might impact your credit history and chances of getting another rental in this case.


How Does an Eviction Affect Your Credit?

Evictions aren’t included on your credit report, and neither are certain types of public records such as eviction judgments. However, that doesn’t mean an eviction leaves your credit squeaky clean or that potential future landlords won’t know about your eviction history.


Collections

First, collection accounts or debts leading up to your eviction do appear on your credit report. If you fell behind on rent and tried to right the situation with a personal loan that you also fell behind on, for example, that could hurt your credit. And if the landlord turned uncollected rents over to a collection agency at any point, that can also negatively impact your score.


Judgements

Second, judgments related to evictions are a matter of public record. Future landlords might not see them on your credit report, but they can easily find them by searching court records. Many landlords use tenant-screening services, such as TransUnion SmartMove and MyRental from CoreLogic, that provide rental backgrounds on prospective tenants, and court records related to evictions are typically included.


What Options do I Have?

First of all, avoid the actual legal process of eviction at all costs. Renting or buying a home after an eviction can be extremely difficult, depending on your location.

This could mean anything from borrowing money to pay the rent to moving out voluntarily. Whatever you can do to avoid eviction is preferable.


Work Something Out

Your landlord rents property as a business. They entered into a rental agreement with you and are dependent on those funds. It’s easier for him or her if you simply pay your rent. If it’s your first time running into issues with rental payments, your landlord may be willing to work with you, if they themselves are financially able to, on a payment plan and help you get back on track.

A handshake agreement of this kind is always preferable over a legal process for all parties concerned. It’s far cheaper, does not require lawyers and everyone walks away happy.


Move Out

The eviction process is long and expensive. Your landlord doesn’t want it and you don’t, either.

If you are unable to work out a payment plan with your landlord, consider simply moving out and calling it even. See if he will simply let you out of your lease and cut his losses. It’s highly likely that this is an attractive option for him.


Frequently Asked Questions

How long do evictions stay on your public record?

In most states, evictions stay on your record for up to seven years. Following this timeframe, they’re deleted from public records and will no longer appear on your credit reports.

How long do evictions stay on your credit report?

Evictions will remain on your credit report for the same statutory period as the judgment remains in the public court records. Eviction judgments also have a significant negative impact on your credit score.

How long does it take for an eviction to show up in an eviction search?

This depends on the speed with which the court involved uploads its public judgment records, but normally evictions appear on credit reports anywhere from 30 to 60 days following an issued judgment.

How can I get an eviction report to find out if I have an eviction on my record?

By law, everyone is entitled to a free copy of their full credit report once every year from the three major credit reporting bureaus (Transunion, Equifax, and Experian). If you know how to read these lengthy documents, you can request yours and check in the Public Records section of the report. However, if your eviction was recent it may not show up.

Will an eviction affect my housing subsidy?

Yes. If you are evicted, you will likely lose your subsidy. This means if you have a Section 8 voucher, you will probably lose it and will not be able to get Section 8 assistance at your new apartment. If you are evicted from a rent-subsidized property, where the subsidy is connected to the apartment, you may not be able to receive rental assistance again for several years.