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False Eviction Is Affecting My Credit, What Can I Do?

Updated on
February 11, 2021
Article written by
Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty

This article will discuss removing an eviction from your public record and credit report. We will answer the following questions:

 

  • Who can see if I have an eviction on my record?
  • How do I check my record for an eviction?
  • Does a false eviction affect my credit?
  • How long does it take an eviction to appear on my record?
  • How to contest a false eviction on my record?
  • Can I still rent with a false eviction on my record?

 

In their due diligence, a great majority of landlords will perform a background check on potential tenants. A background check includes a credit report and a copy of the applicant's public record. Whether you were evicted in the past for a good reason or the eviction is false isn't designated on your public record and credit report; the landlord will simply see that you have an eviction. An eviction stays on your credit report for seven years and may remain on your public record indefinitely in many states. However, there are methods to remove an eviction from your records, whether false or legitimate.

 

Who Can See if I Have an Eviction On My Record?

 

Evictions first require the landlord to obtain a civil judgment against you. The civil judgment is recorded on your public record and can remain there forever if no action is taken to have it removed. Public records, as the name suggests, are available to the public. Pulling individual public records is impractical; however, since credit reports contain a "Public Records" section, the civil judgment will often show up there. Also of note, even if seven years have passed and the eviction is gone from your public records, the civil judgment may still show up on your credit report.

 

How Do I Check My Record For an Eviction?

 

If you're trying to check your credit report for an eviction, you have a few options. You can obtain a free credit report through one or all three of the major credit reporting bureaus—by law, you are entitled to one free credit report per year— or you can pull a full rental history background check. The complete background check will give you more information and enable you to see the same documents that a prospective landlord views when evaluating a renter. There are tenant-friendly reporting services that provide reports with detailed information and explanations for the varied terminology. 

 

Does a False Eviction Affect My Credit Score?

 

Your credit report doesn't differentiate between a false and legitimate eviction. If the eviction goes through the proper channels, even if it was a simple clerical error, it will show up on your credit report and can have a profound impact on your credit score. Your credit report will show a "Civil Judgment," and that will lead to negative marks that lower your credit score. Even if you paid off the debt owed to the landlord, the hit to your credit score from the civil judgment could remain indefinitely. If you're successful in getting the eviction expunged from your record, you'll still need to contact the credit bureaus and have them remove the civil judgment. Removing the civil judgment from your credit report requires gathering the documentation proving the expunged eviction or dismissal, sending a credit dispute to each bureau, and following any instructions they send back.

 

How Long Does It Take For an Eviction to Appear On My Record?

 

If your landlord sued you for not paying rent and the landlord wins, you can expect the eviction to appear on your credit report within 30 to 60 days. The eviction will remain on your record for up to seven years and then it is usually deleted from public records. Every time someone pulls your credit report or rental history background check, the eviction will appear as long as the civil judgment remains in the public records. Additionally, don't assume that the civil judgment will be erased automatically after seven years. There are plenty of examples of clerical errors causing evictions staying on record beyond seven years.

 

How Do I Contest a False Eviction On My Credit Report?

 

If a civil judgment or eviction is incorrectly listed on your record, you can petition the court in the county where the case was filed to have the record expunged or sealed. Generally, if you can provide evidence that proves the eviction should never have been entered into your public record, it will be expunged. If you feel the eviction was entered under false or fraudulent pretenses, you can still attempt to have it expunged or seal, but you will most likely need an attorney's help to fight the falsified eviction.

 

When you file a petition with the court to have the eviction removed, you will need to pay a filing fee and prepare for your time in front of the judge. If the civil case against you from your current or previous landlord resulted in a civil judgment but did not result in an eviction, your chances of getting the judge to expunge the eviction are higher. 

 

Can I Still Rent With a False Eviction On My Record?

 

Whether your eviction is lawful or false, it will jeopardize your ability to secure a lease. While some landlords won't take the time to hear your story or to look at the evidence explaining the error behind your eviction, others may be sympathetic to your plight. Above all else, you should be upfront and truthful with any potential landlords. Let them know your previous landlord is happy to discuss the situation, especially if you are up to date on all debts or the eviction was an error.


False Eviction Is Affecting My Credit, What Can I Do?
Author

Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty

Kevin O’Flaherty is a graduate of the University of Iowa and Chicago-Kent College of Law. He has experience in litigation, estate planning, bankruptcy, real estate, and comprehensive business representation.

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