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How Long Does an Eviction Stay on your Record?

Last updated 03/20/2024 by

Benjamin Locke

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In most cases, it takes seven or more years to expunge an eviction-related notice from your credit report. An eviction record could negatively affect your credit report, though the eviction itself will not appear. What will appear (and decrease your score) are any notices from collections agencies who were sent to collect the outstanding debt.
Millions of people in America currently live “paycheck to paycheck,” meaning they spend every penny they earn and can’t put anything aside for savings. For many people, living costs such as housing make up a significant percentage of their monthly budget. Should they lose their job, have an unexpected family emergency, or have some other financial problem, they might not be able to pay their rent on time. In a worst-case scenario, they may get evicted from their house or apartment for not paying rent.
Contrary to popular belief, the eviction process itself will not appear on the credit report. Instead, if there was a debt or collection agency involved to claim unpaid rent, those actions will appear on your credit report. Most eviction-related events remain on your credit report for up to seven years. However, in some states, this timeframe can exceed seven years if the statute of limitations is longer.
Obviously, the easiest way to prevent eviction from affecting your credit is to avoid eviction altogether. There are steps you can take to help afford rent, even if you’re short on cash. On the other hand, if you have been evicted, there are ways to decrease or even eliminate the effect eviction has on your credit.

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Understanding eviction and credit

It’s important to note that the process of eviction itself, in a legal sense, will not appear on your credit report. For example, if you fail to pay your rent for a substantial period of time, the landlord can file an eviction notice in court. The landlord or property manager will need to prove in court legitimate cause for evicting you, such as payment of rent. This will all be recorded in the court system, but not necessarily your credit report.
Instead, if you fail to pay rent, then the debt you owe will be sent to a debt or collections agency. Once a debt or collections agency processes you, this will most definitely affect your credit. As credit is the lifeblood of all things financial in the United States, the best course of action is to avoid eviction like the plague or, once on your record, do everything you can to mute its impact.
IMPORTANT! Though your court proceedings won’t appear on your credit report, the information is public record. This means your potential landlord will know if you’re lying about any previous evictions.

How long does an eviction stay on your record?

An eviction typically stays on your record for seven years. However, if a state has a greater statute of limitations for expunging an eviction, it could take longer.
If a state’s statute of limitations is ten years, for example, then it will take ten years to get off your credit. As a rule of thumb, seven to ten years is the average time it will take for eviction to fall off of your credit report.

How to avoid eviction

It’s fair to say that most Americans worry about bills at some point in their lives, and rent is often one of them. If you want to avoid an eviction at all costs, here are some steps you can take.

Talk to your landlord

Unless your landlord is a private equity fund or some other version of permanent capital that owns your housing complex, landlords are human beings as well. If you think that you might have problems with paying rent down the line, let your landlord know ahead of time. This will give you a bit more space and avoid your landlord hiring a collections agency right away.

Pay in chunks

Another way to ensure you are able to continue renting your place is to pay your rent payments in chunks, or installments.
If you receive lump sums or bonuses in your job, then paying a portion of your rent can be a smart idea. This should allow you to prioritize your rent and not get caught up in other expenses that might drain your account before next month’s rent.

So you’ve been evicted, now what?

If you’ve been evicted and you can see it on your credit report, there are now two options for you to choose from. For one, you can get the record expunged from your credit report. Another option is you can try to rent again with an eviction on your report.

Getting the eviction expunged

Getting evicted isn’t a death sentence for your credit, and it may even be a mistake. Before getting too caught up in the potential downsides, first see if you can remove the eviction record from your credit report.
  • Pay up. The easiest thing to do is to pay your landlord what you owe. If you don’t have the money, it’s possible to maybe set up a payment plan with your landlord or property manager. Until this debt is paid, it’s possible this sticks around your credit report.
  • Ask collections to remove it from your report. Collections agencies aren’t perfect; sometimes even if you do pay your debt, they will forget to report it to the credit bureau. If you see an eviction notice from a debt collection agency on your credit report, contact the collection agency. You can then make sure they have alerted the credit bureaus that your debt has been paid.
  • Go to court. As a last resort, if you have an eviction on your record that is adversely affecting you and you feel you were wrongly evicted, you can solve it in court with an eviction lawsuit. If you can prove that you did not violate the terms of the lease (or perhaps the landlord did), you can set the record straight and help your credit.

Pro Tip

Keep in mind that lawyers and courts cost money, so it needs to be worth the investment. If you have trouble affording legal bills, read up on some options and alternatives such as fundraising campaigns or asking for pro bono work.

How to rent with an eviction on your record

If you were evicted and none of the above options worked, you’ll have to try and find a place to rent with the eviction still on your record. Here are some things you can do to ensure you have a place to rent, even with the past eviction record haunting you.
  • Pay upfront. The easiest way to ensure your landlord that you do intend to pay rent on time is to pay some or all upfront. Few landlords will reject this gesture.
  • Be upfront with the landlord. If you were evicted because of prior unpaid debt, it’s best to be upfront about it during the very beginning of discussions. This honesty may show your landlord that you acknowledge past mistakes and don’t wish to repeat them, which may make a property manager feel a little better about renting to you.
  • References. If you have references from past landlords or property managers you have rented from, this is a huge plus. This will highlight your previous successful rental history and indicate that your eviction was a period of bad luck or possibly even a misunderstanding.
  • Big deposit. A large security deposit might be an option that you can offer your landlord to convince them you would rather pay rent than forfeit the deposit. However, remember that the landlord will have the right to take the deposit should you fail to pay rent.
  • Get a cosigner. If all else fails, getting a cosigner to sign your rental agreement with you should get you into a residence, no matter how horrible your credit is. If you have a parent or friend that has glistening credit, they can cosign. However, if you still fail to pay rent, this will affect both your and the cosigner’s credit.

Pro Tip

Anything related to your rental history is a huge plus, but even friends and family that can attest to your goodwill can be useful. You can turn personal connections and good deeds into your own personal tenant screening report.

Check your credit for eviction records

The first step to finding out if a previous eviction is having an adverse effect on your credit is to check your credit. Credit in the United States is typically dictated by three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.
Every loan or credit card you take out is recorded by these three credit bureaus, including your payment history and the status of those loans. The bureaus will have different credit scores based on your financial history and thus credit history. If you continue to pay your bills on time, then your credit score will gradually increase. However, any negative inputs in terms of your financial history can have a very fast and very negative effect on your credit.
You can check your credit score with all three bureaus by opening up an account online with each of them. If there’s something negatively affecting your credit that is related to a past eviction, then you should find it there.
You can also keep a passive eye on your credit using credit monitoring tools. This way, you’ll receive an alert each time your score changes.

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Why do people get evicted?

People get evicted because they fail to pay rent or break clauses in their leasing contract.

What is the eviction of a tenant?

The eviction of a tenant is when a tenant is removed from the property they are renting because of a breach of contract.

What does an eviction notice mean?

An eviction notice is a notice given to a tenant explaining they will be evicted from the property if they fail to do something. However, they might be evicted no matter what because of failure to perform things in the past.

Who is most affected by eviction?

The tenant is most affected by the eviction. Not only are they kicked out of their home, but it can negatively affect their credit and future.

Can my landlord evict me if I have no contract?

Yes, if you have an oral agreement, you can be evicted based on that as well.

Key Takeaways

  • Evictions usually remain on credit reports for seven years. That being said, some states require an eviction to remain on a tenant’s credit until the statute of limitations for the state expires if that period lasts longer than seven years.
  • An eviction is when a tenant is removed from their place of residence if they fail to pay rent or break the contract.
  • An eviction will not show up on your credit report. However, any debt or collections agencies sent after you in relation to your eviction will appear.
  • It’s best not to get evicted, but if you do, you can get it expunged or continue to rent with eviction if you follow certain guidelines.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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