Being evicted from the place one calls home can be upsetting and painful, and believe it or not, it happens more than expected and for various reasons.
According to the research done by the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, 3.6 million eviction cases are filed in the United States every year on average. Out of which, 1.5 million eviction judgments are passed annually.
Getting evicted is not only emotionally and physically challenging, but financially too. It can damage your credit score. Although an eviction case doesn’t directly show up on your credit report, it can seriously impact your credit score in indirect ways as a possible judgment.
The eviction case will create problems for you while applying for a loan, obtaining a credit card, and affect your ability to rent in the future as well.
However, the damage can be rectified or minimized by removing the eviction from your credit report. We will be discussing this further ahead in the article. But, before that, let’s understand what precisely an eviction is.
Please seek legal advice when dealing with an eviction.
What is an Eviction?
An eviction is a judicial process by which a landlord can legally remove the tenant from their rented property.
In simpler words, if there’s a dispute between the landlord and tenant, the landowner can seek legal assistance in the form of an eviction process against the tenant.
The reason may be unpaid rent, damage to rental property, or misbehaving on the renter’s part. In any such situation, the landlord could file a case to covet a civil judgment against the tenant to remove them from the rental property.
Reasons for Eviction
Eviction may occur due to the inability of the tenant to pay the rent, but this is not the only cause. There can be a variety of reasons for eviction:
- Repeated late payments of the rent
- Violation of rules set by the property owner
- Damaging the property
- Subletting without permission
- Using the property for illegal purposes
- Being a nuisance for others living around
- Receiving complaints by other tenants and neighbors
How to resolve the issue before it gets on your credit report?
Eviction is the last resort for the landowners as it costs them a tremendous amount of time and money. However, if they are resorting to this, then there must be some serious reason behind it.
What can you do to resolve the issue before it affects your credit score and shows up on a background check?
In many cases, where the problem is unpaid rent or non-payment, it could be resolved by paying your debt. However, if that’s not possible at the time, try communicating and finding a payment plan that favors both parties—reach out to your landlord and talk things out, and it may so happen that they’ll be willing to negotiate.
Property Damaging and Misconduct
In the cases of misbehavior, damage caused to the rental property, or complaints by other tenants and neighbors, the best way to resolve the issue is to apologize and rectify your mistakes.
This can be done by offering to pay for fixing the damage, keeping your behavior in check, and abiding by the rules.
If Negotiations Fail
If you fail to negotiate or catch up on your rental payments, move out before getting complicated and avoiding indulging in legal proceedings. Once the judicial process starts, it would last for an extended period, and the consequences might be terrible to bear. A new landlord will see the eviction on your consumer reports. The legal process in some states is very swift, and if you lose, you will be responsible for the court fees and any attorney costs. As a judgment, the unpaid debt will have a negative impact until it is paid. If they check the court records, future landlords will be able to find it quickly, even if they do not pull your credit file. Eviction proceedings also mean lost time from work and the embarrassment of someone potentially seeing the public records.
How much can eviction hurt your credit score?
Even though the eviction doesn’t directly appear on your credit report, the related information about the eviction lawsuit can damage your credit history severely.
It can also become a hindrance in your loan application approval, rental applications with potential landlords, or getting a credit card with benefits. In addition, this eviction record may appear on your credit report in the following ways:
Suppose a formal judgment is passed against you due to a legal eviction notice filed by your landlord in court. In that case, this judgment will appear in the public records section of your credit report and negatively damage your credit score. It is challenging for any credit repair company to have this removed. Any credit checks will bring the judgment up and have long-term negative effects on your credit.
If your landlord turns your debt to a collection agency, they would undoubtedly report your account to the credit bureaus. As a result, the debt will appear as a collection account, which remains on your credit report for seven years and significantly affects your credit score.
Other places where the negative information is reported
- Tenant screening reports: Rental history reports can be obtained through rental screening companies hired by potential landlords for tenant verification.
- Court records: This includes any information regarding judicial trials and judgments against the tenant. The information related to the eviction judgment appears in the public records section of the credit report.
- Rental background checks: This includes police verification of the tenant’s past eviction information (if any) and history, along with the data collected from the three major credit bureaus—TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
How to remove Eviction from your Credit Reports?
Once the eviction judgment is brought against you, the only solution is to remove the eviction information from your credit history. Removing the eviction judgment can be accomplished in the following ways:
Initial Damage Control
The first thing you can do is clear up your unpaid rent with your former landlord and get him to agree to send a letter to the major credit bureaus and have the eviction removed.
Maintain proper records of the payment slips, agreement, and copy of the letters for future references.
Negotiate with the Collection Agency
If your previous landlord turned your debt to collection agencies, you should contact the respective agency regarding this. You can then negotiate with them and have the eviction information and collection account removed from your credit records.
Removing a collection from your credit report can be done by offering a pay-for-delete agreement to the agency. You can also clear up your past dues in exchange for the removal of negative remarks from your credit history.
Again, it would help if you asked everything in writing to save yourself from being cheated and have proof for future reference.
Expungement of the Civil Judgment
To remove this derogatory mark from the public records section of your credit report, you should file a petition in the court along with proof of your payment settlement and other valid documents.
Hire an attorney for help, and gather all the case-related documentation like summons, notices, copy of the judgment, etc.
Since you still owe the landlord, clear up the dues, obtain payment slips, and prove that you no longer are in their debt. After the negotiation is done, you can proceed further.
File the petition for expungement of the eviction off of your public records. Once this is done, contact the credit bureaus to notify them to get the eviction removed from your credit history as well.
Seek Legal Help
The Last Resort
You can also try to build a better credit history. As mentioned earlier, the eviction itself doesn’t show on the credit report, and the information related to the eviction process remains on record only for seven years. In other words, the older the eviction history is, the lesser damage it can cause.
You can check out our mini-guide on how to improve your credit score and start building an impressive profile now!
How to Dispute an Eviction on Credit Report?
You can submit a dispute with the credit bureaus if there’s some eviction-related information on your credit report that you believe isn’t supposed to be mentioned. You’ll have to submit a dispute to each credit bureau separately.
To do this, you can send a letter to the respective credit bureaus, including your complete information, proof of your claim, and an explanation of why you believe the information is disputed.
It must include requests to remove the information from your credit records. In addition, submit copies of documents provided by the court—civil judges expungement records, debt settlement receipts, and eviction suit—attached with the letter.
Some problematic circumstances may occur in one’s life, but every problem has a solution. For example, in the case of eviction, even though it doesn’t directly appear on your credit report, the information related to it does, and it may remain on the record for at least seven years.
This can severely damage and reduce your credit score, as well as affect your ability to get loan application approval, credit card with benefits, or rent a place in the future.
The best way to avoid all this trouble is by resolving the conflict before the matter becomes legal. Still, even if this happens, the damage can be rectified by proper negotiations with the former landlords or the collection agencies. Additionally, public records can also be wiped off with proper legal methods.
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