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From the Experts at

What Happens To Your Credit When You Get Evicted?

by Lucy Lazarony

What Happens To Your Credit When You Get Evicted

Getting evicted from an apartment can make it difficult to find a new place to live and it can affect your credit history, as well, if your landlord obtains an eviction judgment against you in court.

Once a judge has ruled in favor of the landlord and that judgment is considered final, the
three major credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, receive notices of the eviction. And the eviction is added to the “public records” section of your credit report.

Public records (such as bankruptcies and tax liens), and civil court judgments (such as evictions) stay on your credit report for seven years from the filing date and do some serious damage to your credit score.

Collection accounts are also listed in the public records section of your credit report.
If you failed to pay rent and your account was handed over to a collection agency, a collection account for your unpaid rent would appear here.

Collection accounts remain on your credit report for seven years from the original delinquency date of the debt, according to Experian.

If you’ve been evicted from a townhouse, apartment or rental home, it may be difficult to qualify for a new rental if a potential landlord checks your credit history.

Plus, many landlords use tenant screening services to screen future renters and it is likely that a screening company would inform a landlord or property manager of your past eviction, with or without a credit check.

Tenant screening services track down where you have lived in the past and whether you have paid your rent as agreed.

The best way to make amends for unpaid rent is to reach out to the former landlord or collection agency and make up for those missed payments.

Most landlords will be unwilling to lease to a tenant who has been evicted from another rental and hasn’t made an effort to pay off the debt, according to TransUnion.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Yes that’s a form of identity theft. You need to take the appropriate steps, including filing a police report, checking your credit reports, etc. You’ll find more tips here: What Should I Do If I’m a Victim Of Identity Theft

  • lindam313

    This happened in 2009. Is that a factor?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      It’s a little late to file a report but I’d still suggest you try. If they’ve done anything else with your info it will be very helpful to have a police report.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    The fact that there is new management is probably not a good enough reason to break your lease, but if there are other problems, then you may be able to do so. I recommend you do two things: 1. Put your complaints in writing and send it to the new management by certified mail and keep a copy for your records and 2. educate yourself on landlord tenant laws in your state to see if any have been violated. Your local housing authority may be able to help as well. state landlord tenant laws

    Please be careful – we’ve heard so many horror stories from tenants about their credit being ruined after they broke a lease early. Document, document, document – and know your rights.

  • ccurtisce

    What if you hand the payment to the landlord. Then the next day get a pay in 3 days or leave. Yes we were beyond un happy cause they dI’d nothing and there were cockroaches in the cabinets. We put a stop payment on the check Monday morning. Then after she called aND said sorry I found the check. We have proof of all the problems and decided to leave.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      The landlords actions may not be legal. I suggest you research state landlord tenant laws in your state and contact your local housing authority if necessary.

  • Sean

    What if the reason for the eviction has nothing to do with paying on time? For example, if there is a dispute about how to interpret a term in the contract and the landlord seeks recourse through an eviction process, would that sort of an eviction be placed on a credit record in the event that the landlord wins? Even if there is not a dispute and both parties agree that the tenant is breaking a term in the lease, but the term has nothing to do with on-time payments (e.g., having a pet when they’re not supposed to), does eviction on these bases result in an adverse credit record?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      If the eviction is recorded in the courts and is part of the public record it will likely appear on your credit reports. Keep good records, though, as you may have a basis for disputing it.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Your state should have laws that protect tenants in these situations. Here is a resource for researching state landlord tenant laws.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Is it on your credit reports? That’s the first thing to find out. If so, it can still be disputed though it may be hard to get removed. Have you tried contacting the Legal Aid Society in NY for help with the credit reporting issue?

    • Amy

      I don’t know if it is on their credit reports. I know they got turned down for a pre-approval from one bank for bad credit but got pre-approved from another. But this person has a history of bad credit. I feel like tenants have no rights. Tenants should have a way of screening landlords to make sure the landlords are not slumlords. Not all landlords are that great.

      • Gerri Detweiler

        You’re not the first person to make that suggestion!

  • Gerri Detweiler

    The screening company, by law, must give you instructions for ordering a free copy of your report from the source they used. Did you get that notification and did you get the report? If not, ask the screening company for the disclosure.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    If I understand your question correctly, you terminated your lease early and the landlord has now sent you to collections correct? Unfortunately if you break a lease early that’s always a possibility. Your goal now should be to resolve the account so you can start rebuilding your credit. One collection account alone shouldn’t completely derail your plans to buy a home – it’s the overall credit score a lender looks at. In addition, it’s possible they may agree to remove it if you pay it, but you’ll need to negotiate that and get it in writing. (There is no guarantee, but it’s worth trying.) We wrote about that here: Removing Collection Accounts from Your Credit Reports

  • Chris

    I have recently separated with my girlfriend who shares an apartment with me. She pays nothing and I pay for everything. She is on the lease however. I have left the property, but she is unwilling to leave. How can I approach this? A lawyer told me I may have no choice but to go through the eviction process to separate fully. I have great credit and do not want to mess this up. Any ideas? State of Florida.

    • Credit Experts

      You will do well to seek legal counsel. It’s likely your lease does not specify that you owe the money only as long as you live in the apartment and the relationship continues — and the apartment manager’s main concern is being sure rent is paid. Does the lease allow one of you to give 30 days’ notice? Or does it require the consent of both parties? While we understand you are not married, some of the advice in this post might be useful:
      What Happens to Your Credit When You Get Divorced?

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Albert –

    An eviction can only be reported for seven years from the date it occurred. So it sounds like it will come off your credit reports next year.

    • albert

      Thanks for your response, but is not on my credit but my actual record and i was told its there for life… i dont understand..

      • Gerri Detweiler

        I don’t know what you mean either by your “actual record.” If you were denied an apartment due to an eviction listed in a consumer report of some kind, by law they must provide you with a written notice explaining where they got that information and give you the opportunity to request a copy.

        Who told you that?

        • Gerri Detweiler

          Perhaps you mean there is a judgment on your credit report? Unpaid judgments can be reported indefinitely. If you haven’t already, please get your credit reports from all three bureaus to see what is listed: Here’s how to get your free annual credit reports.

          And please read this article: Help! I Found a Judgment on My Credit Report

          • Alberto

            i have someone working on my credit repairing so we checked and it was not there… but it must be on my record outside of my credit report since this condominium was able to see it.. so as per what you said it will be there permanently until i get to contact the landlord that did this to me then…

          • Gerri Detweiler

            Alberto – I am not sure what “it” is. Without knowing what report they were looking at it’s really hard for me to tell. Can you go back to them and ask them what the source for that information was? They may be required by law to tell you that.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    File a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or talk with a consumer law attorney. The company that checked your record may have broken the law.

  • Credit Experts

    It shouldn’t, though it could, indirectly, if you didn’t pay rent due and that was sent to a collection agency. A collection would hurt your credit score.

  • shan

    If I am moving out the last month of my lease and. I have a deposit equal to the last month’s rent would they still take you to court?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      If your deposit was a security deposit – and not last month’s rent – then not paying your last month’s rent could put you in default. As to what the landlord will do, it’s hard for me to speculate. You may want to research your state landlord tenant laws before you put your credit at risk.

  • Angel21

    If im my account has gone into collections will they garnish my taxes.

    • Credit Experts

      Garnishment happens only after there has been a judgment. (They would have to first sue you and win in court.)

  • Justin

    I am currently a tenant in VA, and I believe that I have legal grounds to have broken my lease agreement, due to a clause that states a lease can be broken if the employer listed on the application transfers the tenant to another job outside of a 50-mile radius. I transferred from one US government agency to another (different agencies, but still within the federal government). I see this as a qualifying reason; the landlord doesn’t see it this way. I have since relocated and stopped paying rent, and the landlord is taking me to court. If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, I understand that a judgment will be issued against me and a collection agency will come after me to pay the rent due. If I pay the past rent within 30 days, would my credit score still be negatively affected? Thank you

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Unfortunately, if a judgment is issued and appears on your credit reports it will be negative, even if you pay it off right away. It sounds to me like your best bet – short of hiring an attorney to fight back – is to resolve it before it gets to court. If you do that, make sure you get something in writing stating that they will drop the lawsuit when you pay.

  • Brandy

    What if your landlord never gave you a lease agreement to sign, can he put anything on my credit?

  • Brandy

    If I never signed an lease agreement the will he be able to put anything on my credit record?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      It depends. If he takes you to court and gets a judgment that will be reported. But without a signed lease he may not be able to successfully sue you. Similarly if he turns your account over to collections that will affect your credit, but you may be able to dispute it. It really depends on the facts and circumstances.

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