An eviction can stay on your public record for at least seven years. After this period, evictions fall off your public records, including your credit report and rental history.
Evictions can impact your credit score and your ability to rent, but there are ways to improve your chances of renting after an eviction.
Take a look at our guide to learn how to do just that.
How Does an Eviction Affect My Credit?
Evictions can result in negative marks that bring down your credit score.
If you didn’t pay the full amount due, your landlord can bring you to court. Once you’re sued for unpaid rent and the landlord wins the case, you’ll have a civil judgment against you. The civil judgment is what will be reported on your credit history.
A civil judgment is a very serious negative mark and stays on your credit report typically up to seven years, even if you’ve paid off the amount. A potential employer or landlord may review your credit reports and learn of the civil judgment.
How Can I Remove an Eviction from My Public Record?
You can remove your eviction from your public record by petitioning the court, winning your case or disputing an inaccurately reported eviction.
While the process is more difficult, it’s not impossible.
Petition the court: In the county where the case was filed, you can petition the court to have the eviction expunged from your record.
Win your case: If the landlord served you an eviction notice without a legal or valid basis, prove that. A judge is more likely to rule in your favor if you demonstrate that the eviction was unfounded and not the result of you breaking your lease.
Prove that you didn’t violate the lease: Make it evident you didn’t break the terms of your lease. For example, prove that you paid your rent and that you left the property in a satisfactory condition. Provide evidence when possible. Documentation, such as cleared rent checks and photos, can support your case.
Ensure proper procedures are followed: Keep an eye on the landlord’s process of carrying out the eviction. Laws vary by state, but there’s always a specific procedure a landlord must follow when filing the eviction and serving the eviction notice to you.
Make yourself familiar with your state’s laws governing eviction suits. Be sure to document how your landlord fails to abide by the required legal process.
How Can I Remove a Civil Judgment from My Credit Report?
After you have successfully legally removed your eviction from your public record, you will still need to inform the credit bureaus. The credit bureaus will not remove the civil judgment from your credit report automatically after you’ve removed it from your public record—make sure you notify them.
You need to take the following steps to remove the civil judgment from your credit report:
- Obtain documentation: If you won your case, gather the evidence that the court expunged the eviction from your public record. If you’ve reached an agreement with your landlord and the eviction case was dismissed, get proof and present it to the credit bureaus.
- Find other inaccuracies in your credit report: While you’re in the process of removing the eviction, now is an ideal time to check for other misrepresented information on your credit report. Look for incorrect dates or amounts, or debt that still shows a balance when it’s been paid off, and submit additional disputes.
- Send a dispute to the major credit bureaus: For each bureau that lists your civil judgment, you’ll need to send in a separate credit dispute with documentation. The three major credit bureaus are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
- Follow up: Removing a civil judgment or other unfair, negative items from your credit report takes time and diligence. Be sure to follow any instructions given by the credit bureau. Send follow-up communication if you don’t hear back from them within 30 – 60 days.
How Can I Rent If an Eviction is Still on My Public Record?
You can still rent if you have an eviction on your public record, but it’ll be more difficult. There are a few things that may improve your chances of getting a rental agreement.
- Explain the eviction: Be honest and upfront. If the landlord understands what happened, they might give you a better chance. If you’ve rectified the situation with your previous landlord, make sure the new landlord knows that.
- Provide references: To show you’re a trustworthy renter, offer references in addition to the background check.
- Offer to pay more upfront: Consider paying the security deposit, first month’s rent and even second month’s rent at the time of signing a rental agreement.
- Get a co-signer: A co-signer reassures the landlord that you have someone legally and financially backing you.
- Improve your credit: A good credit score can be evidence of your ability to pay bills on time.
- Show you’re financially viable to pay your rent: Provide proof of income and other successful payments, like payments on an auto loan.
Once you’re accepted as a tenant, continue to prove yourself with timely payments and by properly caring for the property. You can rebuild your rental history and make it easier to rent in the future.
What Should I Do If My Civil Judgment Is Inaccurately Reported?
It’s possible your civil judgment may stay on your credit report and public record inaccurately. This can be due to a variety of reasons, such as clerical errors or disputes that got lost in the mail.
If you see a civil judgment on your record that shouldn’t be there: rectify it. It’s important to remove mistakes that negatively affect your credit score, your ability to rent and your ability to apply for new credit.
To remove the civil judgment, contact the county and/or the credit bureaus yourself. You can also ask for legal advice and get assistance. Call the credit report consultants at Lexington Law today to learn how we can help you remove inaccurate marks on your credit report.