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Kevin O'Flaherty

Landlords perform thorough background checks on prospective tenants, examining credit history and scores through credit checks. These checks include scrutiny of public records, and uncovering eviction notices that are public record. Evictions, whether rightful or wrongful, can linger on credit reports for up to seven years and indefinitely in court records, influencing credit scores. Even false eviction notices can appear in eviction records, accessible under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. To remove a false eviction, contest it in court with solid evidence and legal support, and check your record for inconsistencies through the same tenant screening service your landlord uses. This article will discuss removing an eviction from your public record and credit report.

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

Negotiation with landlord to resolve eviction

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. 

What Constitutes a False Eviction?

A false eviction is defined as: It occurs when a landlord attempts to forcibly remove a tenant from a property without adhering to the legal eviction process mandated by state laws. This could involve changing the locks, removing the tenant’s personal property, or cutting off essential services such as electricity or heat. With eviction removed in such an illegal manner, tenants have the right to seek legal recourse.

State laws provide specific remedies for tenants who have been subject to a false eviction, which may include monetary damages, legal costs, and sometimes punitive damages.

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?

Contacting Previous Landlords and Property Managers

Communication with previous landlord about eviction

Reaching out to prior landlords or property managers can offer clarity and possibly rectify unintended evictions in your rental history, much like revisiting a crime scene for new evidence. It’s like retracing your steps to find a lost item.

Tenants should ask their landlord or property manager which tenant screening agencies and tenant screening companies they use to ensure that their personal checks align with the records held by the landlord. Checking one’s own record through the same screening service as the landlord can reveal inconsistencies and aid in ensuring the accuracy of the eviction record.

Challenging a False Eviction

Contesting a false eviction involves engaging in a battle. Here are the steps you can take to contest the eviction:

  1. Arm yourself with solid evidence and legal help.
  2. Contest the eviction in court.
  3. To remove a false eviction from your public record, you can petition the court or file an appeal.
  4. Gather evidence that proves eviction information is incorrect or outdated.
  5. Have a comprehensive understanding of eviction legislation.

Fighting a falsified eviction often necessitates enlisting the assistance of an attorney, especially if contesting the eviction without initial evidence.

Gathering Evidence and Documentation

Building a strong case involves collecting extensive evidence and paperwork. It is crucial to check the legality of an eviction notice by ensuring there’s a corresponding lease clause and it complies with state laws, as a first step in challenging its validity. Documenting interactions with a landlord and maintaining records of any steps taken to address lease violations or misunderstandings is essential when contesting the reason for eviction.

Evidence like canceled checks or proof of a payment plan is vital for disputing claims of unpaid rent or other financial obligations when you pay rent.

Hiring Legal Help

Amid the maze of legal procedures, having an attorney can serve as your beacon. Legal representation is critical when fighting a falsified eviction, especially when attempting to have a record expunged or sealed, while an experienced attorney can provide efficient handling and prevent potential errors.

Working with Credit Repair Companies

Managing the complexities of credit repair can be simplified by engaging credit repair companies. Reputable credit repair companies can assist individuals with the process of removing eviction information from their rental history and credit reports. These companies typically use strategies such as disputing inaccuracies directly with credit bureaus and negotiating with creditors for eviction removal. 

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I delete my rental history?

To delete your rental history, settle any outstanding debts and request to have collections and evictions removed from your tenant screening reports. Additionally, ensure you pay any late payments within 30 days of the original due date to keep them off your record.

How do I get rid of an eviction in Florida?

To get rid of an eviction in Florida, you should follow these steps: check your state laws, win your eviction case, review your eviction paperwork, determine your expungement type, file your motion of expungement, attend the hearing, check the court record, and send copies to tenant screening companies.

What is the eviction diversion program in Texas?

The eviction diversion program in Texas allows courts to put eviction lawsuits on hold and divert them to the program, offering lump sum payments to landlords for rental arrears in exchange for allowing tenants to remain in their homes and forgiving late fees.

What is a false eviction?

A false eviction happens when a landlord unlawfully removes a tenant without following proper legal procedures, leading to potential legal consequences for the landlord.

How can I negotiate with landlords and collection agencies?

You can negotiate with landlords and collection agencies by addressing any inaccuracies in eviction records, being transparent about your situation, and proposing a payment plan if needed. Be honest and open in your communication to find a suitable resolution.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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