How to Get an Eviction Off Your Record

Having an eviction filed against you by your landlord is a highly stressful experience. Not only is it terrifying that you may have nowhere to live in the immediate future, but it also makes the possibility of finding a new home intimidating and impacts your credit report. Evictions are all held on public record, and your new landlord will be able to discover your previous rental history. However, with a little work, it is possible to get an eviction removed from your record.

If you want to learn how to get an eviction removed from your record, you’ll need to keep reading. In this article, we talk about how the eviction process works, share a step-by-step guide on how to get your eviction expunged, and share other legal advice to help your case.

What’s Involved in the Eviction Process?

A landlord may file for eviction against a tenant if they violate the terms of their lease. To initiate an eviction, the landlord will first have to issue a written notice to the tenant advising them of how they have violated the lease and what they need to do to correct this. In most cases, the violation relates to late rent payments or bounced rent checks. In this example, the letter may include details of the outstanding rent balance and a timeframe in which the tenant has to pay overdue rent. Breaking other terms of the lease, such as subletting a room without approval, could give the landlord grounds for eviction. Failure to correct the errors – such as paying the outstanding rent or fixing another issue by the specified date – will result in you having to go to court to defend yourself against the eviction.

If the landlord wins the eviction case, the tenant will be required to vacate the property. A local authority will arrive at the rental unit and give a few days’ notice of eviction. The tenant will then be expected to move all their belongings before the local authority returns to the property. In some severe cases, such as if the tenant was conducting illegal activities within the property, an unconditional eviction notice will be handed out. This means that there is no way the tenant can correct the lease violation and it goes straight to the courts. The tenant then must move out immediately.

How Long Does an Eviction Stay on Your Record?

Generally speaking, an eviction stays on your record as part of your rental history for seven years. This is a public record and is available to all future landlords and creditors within this period. This can negatively impact your ability to find another rental property and obtain financial loans if and when needed. Even after seven years, some evictions will continue to show up in background checks and tenant screening reports. Therefore, many tenants wish to get the eviction removed from their public record and sealed by a judge so that the circuit clerk won’t allow anyone to see the eviction in the future.

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How Can I Clear My Rental History?

You can get an eviction from a previous landlord off your record. However, this is no easy feat! Generally, the courts will only allow an eviction removal from your record if your landlord did not follow proper procedures for the eviction. Therefore, anyone who believes they were wrongly evicted should take their case to court. In the US, eviction laws vary by state, and so the tenant’s rights will differ depending on the jurisdiction in which you live. As such, it is always advisable to speak with an attorney that has knowledge of local landlord tenant laws for legal advice.

It may also be worth taking the case to court if you can prove that you never violated your lease in the first place. If the courts decide that eviction was indeed wrongful, the eviction will be wiped from your record. This is done by sealing the records so that they are not available for landlords and lenders to view.

If the eviction was fair and justified, getting the eviction removed is a much more challenging task. However, follow this step-by-step guide on how to get an eviction off your record for the best chances of success:

1.     Settle All Outstanding Rental Debts: Failure to pay outstanding rent is the basis for almost all evictions in the US. Therefore, it may be possible to get the eviction off your record by paying all outstanding debts. Even in cases where this isn’t possible, tenants might be able to negotiate a payment plan with the property manager or debt collector. If you decide to go down this avenue, ensure that the previous landlord is happy and willing to get the eviction removed and ask for a written statement confirming this.

2.     Request Removal of Collection Activity: Having settled all outstanding debts, the eviction may still show on your credit report. Therefore, you should contact the collection agency and ask that the eviction be removed from the credit report as an agreement for settling the debts. This should be done whether negotiating a repayment plan or paying back the outstanding rent in full. Always make sure the agreement is in writing.

3.     Request Removal from Tenant Screening: As the tenant, you should also ask the property manager to remove the eviction from all tenant screening reports that future landlords and property owners can see. Again, this needs to be made a condition of settling the outstanding rent balance. The request and agreement need to be in writing in case any disputes arise.

4.     File a Formal Dispute: If the above steps have all been followed and the eviction is still showing on your record, a formal dispute should be raised with the credit bureau and tenant-screening companies. When filing the dispute, you will need to show proof of the above agreements. After the disputes are settled, the eviction should no longer show on any records.

Can I Still Rent if I Have an Eviction on My Record?

After an eviction, renting can be a real challenge. Most property management companies and landlords rely on background checks and tenant screening reports when deciding whom to next let lease the property. As such, potential tenants with a history of eviction are less likely to be considered than people with a clean record. However, here are some tips on how to make renting a little easier until the eviction removal from record is complete:

·        Improve Credit Rating: Although an eviction record never looks good, having a great credit report with a good score can show that you are in control of your finances and could be a reliable tenant after all.

·        Explain What Happened: Being truthful about what happened with your previous landlord and any personal issues that were linked to the eviction can help the new property manager to understand and sympathize with your situation. Be sure to share any steps you have made to prevent the same problems from arising in the future.

·        Collect References: Although your public record may not look favorable, there will be people in your life that can vouch for your reliability. Try to collect references from these individuals to help prove your eviction was a blip and your character can be trusted.

·        Rent Privately: Tenants with an eviction record should consider renting privately. Some large property management companies have certain restrictions and company policies in place that state they cannot accept a tenant with previous evictions, even if they want to. As such, it may be better to look for a privately owned property that should have more flexible terms.

·        Negotiate Deposits: If financially able, a tenant might consider paying a larger upfront deposit. This reassures the property manager that you are in a good financial position and that you are serious about sticking with the terms of the lease.

Conclusions

As you have learned, it is possible to get an eviction removed from your record. However, this will either require you to take the case to court or form a settlement agreement. This can make renting and signing a new lease agreement easier in the future. In worst cases where you cannot get the eviction removed, the above tips should help make finding a new property easier. 

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