Note: This is for informational purposes only.
An eviction notice is a written statement informing you the landlord believes you’re in violation of the rental agreement. Depending on why you’re being evicted, the type of notice you receive and the state you live in, you may need to vacate the property by a certain time. But if you have an eviction notice in your past, you might be worried about getting approved for a new rental situation.
Find out below what happens if you get evicted, including whether you can or should fight the notice and whether you can get a new rental. As with any situation involving your credit and money, being prepared with knowledge can often make a huge difference in outcome.
What to Do If You Receive an Eviction Notice
Eviction processes vary by state. Eforms, a site that provides sample eviction notices for landlords, summarizes the eviction process for each state. A good first step is to find out exactly what the process in your state is so you know how to respond appropriately to an eviction.
Eviction notices come in two main types: curable and incurable. Curable notices detail how the landlord thinks you broke the lease agreement and how you can fix it. If you cure the issue, the eviction is retracted. Incurable notices don’t have any fix and simply require that you vacate the premises by a certain date.
A common reason for an eviction notice is that the landlord claims the rent hasn’t been paid. In many cases, this would be a curable eviction notice. If you catch up on your rent, the landlord might not move forward with the eviction.
In many cases, if you don’t respond to the eviction notice to cure it or move out, the landlord must go to court to get a judgment against you. This allows law enforcement to require you to move out of the property.
You usually have an option to appear in court and fight the eviction. For example, if you’re withholding rent because the landlord has not fixed something that is his or her responsibility under the lease, you could use that as a defense. A judge might rule on your side, requiring the landlord to make those repairs before you are required to catch up your rent. But keep in mind that we’re not legal experts—if you find yourself in this situation, we recommend consulting with a lawyer.
What Happens If You Get Evicted?
If you know you’re at fault or the judgment doesn’t go your way, you are likely going to have to move out of the rental property. It’s important to know how the eviction might impact your credit history and chances of getting another rental in this case.
How Does an Eviction Affect Your Credit?
Evictions aren’t included on your credit report, and neither are certain types of public records such as eviction judgments. However, that doesn’t mean an eviction leaves your credit squeaky clean or that potential future landlords won’t know about your eviction history.
First, collection accounts or debts leading up to your eviction do appear on your credit report. If you fell behind on rent and tried to right the situation with a personal loan that you also fell behind on, for example, that could hurt your credit. And if the landlord turned uncollected rents over to a collection agency at any point, that can also negatively impact your score.
Second, judgments related to evictions are a matter of public record. Future landlords might not see them on your credit report, but they can easily find them by searching court records. Many landlords use tenant-screening services that provide rental backgrounds on prospective tenants, and court records related to evictions are typically included.
Can You Still Rent an Apartment If You Have Been Evicted?
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 rental history. If you have an eviction hampering your ability to find a place to live, you have a few options:
- Try to find a private landlord who doesn’t use screening services or check credit history
- Look into reporting any rent that you’re paying—it could help your credit score
- Try negotiating with a potential landlord by offering a large security deposit or several months of rent up front
- Find a cosigner with good credit to live with
- Live with friends who already have a home and history of good payments
Try to Make Amends
If you were evicted for unpaid rent, the best way to make amends is to reach out to your former landlord or collection agency and make up those missed payments. Doing so could make finding a new place easier, especially if you get proof in writing that you made good on the old debts.
How to Avoid Eviction in the First Place
Abiding by your rental agreement is the most important thing you can do to avoid being evicted. Your agreement is a legally binding contract, so understanding everything expected of you—from maintenance of the property to noise restrictions and timely rent payment—is critical, as is knowing the tenant laws in your state.
If you have problems, talk to your landlord as soon as possible. Things happen, but landlords often appreciate knowing you want to do the right thing, and communication is essential. Also keep in mind that finding new tenants is a hassle most landlords would rather avoid. They can often be willing to work with you, but you have to take the first step.
Keep an Eye on Your Credit
Even if you do everything you’re supposed to do, when you live in someone else’s property, keep in mind that you might have to move unexpectedly. A landlord could potentially sell their property, or you could decide that the landlord isn’t someone you want to rent from anymore, for example. Keeping an eye on your credit regularly helps you improve your score, which can help you secure a new rental property as needed.
Check out Credit.com’s Credit Report Card. It gives you the everything you need to know about all the factors that make up your credit score, so you know exactly what areas you need to work on to improve your score.