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How Eviction Can Affect Your Credit Score



Your eviction itself won’t show up on your credit report. But information related to the eviction can affect your credit history for seven years.

For example, if your landlord sends your unpaid rent balance to a collection agency, this account would pull down your credit score.

Or, if a property manager sues you for breaking a lease agreement, evidence of this civil action could show up on your credit report.

What, Exactly, is An Eviction?

An eviction is, by definition, a court action filed against you, the tenant. To win an eviction suit, your landlord has to prove you have broken your lease agreement.

Usually, evictions happen when renters don’t pay the rent for several months, but other problems can lead to an eviction, too.

Failing to follow property rules or damaging the property could prompt an eviction notice. So could subletting without permission or using the property for illegal purposes.

But keep in mind: Eviction proceedings cost landlords and property managers time and money. They’ll usually need a compelling reason to start an eviction process against a renter. For many property owners, an eviction is a last resort.

Will an Eviction Stay on My Credit 7 Years?

A landlord will not report your eviction to TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian.

These three credit bureaus report data about your loans. Unpaid rent isn’t debt in this sense; the credit bureaus don’t report on rental history.

But this doesn’t mean an eviction judgment won’t do collateral damage to your credit history.

Old Rent Can Become a Collection Account

Unpaid rent can show up on your credit file if your landlord sends your old balance to a collection agency that will try to get the money from you.

A collection account, even if you pay it off, can damage your credit score for seven years.

Future lenders and credit card companies will check your credit reports.

A collection account because of unpaid rent could wreck your chances of getting a major credit card with rewards or the best rates on personal loans.

You may need a cosigner to help rebuild your credit for the first few years after the eviction.

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Public Records Can Reveal an Eviction Report

Or, your landlord could file a small claims lawsuit seeking payment of your old rent or damages not covered by your security deposit.

Some landlords sue tenants for court fees generated by the eviction case itself.

Assuming your landlord wins his or her civil case against you, this court action could show up in the public records section of your credit report.

This can be especially harmful if a new landlord sees this eviction record while checking out your next rental application.

Court records can linger on your credit report for up to seven years.

You could pay off the judgment to make the negative mark look a little better, but the eviction would still be evident when management companies or other potential landlords do routine background checks.

So expect to have a conversation or two about it during future tenant screenings.

Some Employers Do Credit Checks

Employers sometimes check your credit reports — with your written permission. A low credit score or evidence of eviction could make getting hired more difficult.

It’s possible an employer or creditor may decide to contact your previous landlord to find out more information about the eviction case.

Try to Avoid Eviction by Communicating

If a landlord says you’re late on this month’s rent or several months behind on the rent, try to work out a payment plan.

Be sure to communicate with your landlord before you get into a tough spot.

If you’ve lost or job, gotten injured, or face some other huge financial hurdle like out-of-control medical debt, your landlord may be willing to work with you.

Like I said above, an eviction case means extra work and extra money for your landlord. He or she may be more understanding than you expect — if you communicate in advance.

An Eviction Notice Doesn’t Have to Proceed

If you receive an eviction notice, you can try to resolve the problem before it proceeds into the court system.

You could make an attempt to pay unpaid rent payments or try to resolve the problem leading to the eviction notice.

The key, again, is to communicate with your landlord or the manager of the rental property. Let your landlord know you’d like to solve the problem and keep it out of the courts.

This could also prevent future problems with credit reporting, too.

But no matter what, be sure you’re protecting yourself. For example, if your landlord agrees to stop eviction proceedings in exchange for two month’s rent, get this agreement in writing before paying.

Can I Remove an Eviction From My Credit Report?

Once again, an eviction itself won’t show up in credit reporting from the three bureaus.

But if evidence from the eviction appears on your report, you do have a few options for getting it removed.

Make a Deal with the Collection Agency

If your landlord turned over your unpaid rent to a collection agency, you could try to make a pay-for-delete agreement with the agency.

Contact the collection agency and offer to pay the past due balance in exchange for removing its negative marks from your credit history.

Depending on the collection agency, you could offer to pay only half the past-due balance.

If you do strike an agreement, get it in writing before making a payment.

Otherwise, the agency may take the money and not remove the item from your credit report.

Try to Get the Civil Judgment Removed

If evidence of your eviction remains in the public records section of your credit report, you can try to get the judgment removed.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the three credit bureaus to report only accurate information. If you can find an inaccuracy in the reporting of your eviction judgment, you can make a case for its removal.

Of course, the credit bureaus could also simply fix the errors to comply with the law. But if they can’t provide accurate data you can insist on removal.

To start this process, get a copy of your free credit report from annualcreditreport.com and look for inaccuracies. If you find any, you should send dispute letters to the credit bureaus.

Ask for Professional Help

If you need legal advice in order to restore your good credit, I recommend hiring Lexington Law, a credit repair company.

Lexington Law is one of the few credit repair companies with attorneys and paralegals on the payroll.

This firm will charge you a monthly fee, but if anyone can get evidence of an eviction removed from your credit report, they can.

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