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How Long Does an Eviction Stay on Your Record?

When people refer to your “record” for the sake of evictions, they mean your credit report and background check. If you get evicted, that eviction will stay on these records for seven years.

That’s right, not seven months but seven years. So being evicted is a BIG deal. Landlords don’t particularly like to rent to tenants who have a history of being evicted, and if you’ve been evicted, that fact will follow you around for the next seven years.

Landlords can see that you’ve been evicted a couple of ways. 

  1. If you were evicted for nonpayment of rent, your landlord might have sent that account to a collection agency, and that would show up on your credit report. 
  2. If the landlord evicted you through the courts, the judgment is public record, which landlords who use a tenant-screening service will see when they view the background check.

How do you get evicted?

You can be evicted for breaking any of your lease terms. The most common reason people are evicted is for nonpayment of rent. But you could be evicted for other reasons, such as subletting your rental without permission, sneaking in a pet, bringing in someone to live with you who is not on the lease, damaging the premises, being a nuisance to neighbors or other tenants, or not leaving when your lease is up.

If the landlord has a valid reason to evict you, they need to follow the eviction process for your state. That usually entails first giving you a formal notice of eviction, which is generally a letter or email that explains the reason you’re being evicted and what you can do to avoid it. If you don’t comply, expect your landlord to file the eviction with the local courthouse next. The court then notifies you as to when you’ll need to appear. If you lose in court, you’ll need to move out.

How to rent with an eviction on your record

Just because you have an eviction doesn’t mean you’re banned from renting for the next seven years. Although it might be more difficult for you to find a place to rent with an eviction on your record, you can do it. Here are some ways:

Be proactive 

Tell the landlord or property manager you have an eviction before they view your application. You can then explain the circumstances. Or, if the eviction happened years ago, for example, and you’ve been a good tenant since, the landlord might rent to you. 

Prepay

The term “money talks,” is not a popular phrase for nothing. If you can show a landlord you have three- to six-months’ worth of rent in hand and that you’re willing to pay it upfront, you might get the rental unit.

Get someone to cosign for you

If you can get a parent or someone with good credit to vouch for you by being your cosigner, you might get the rental unit. Keep in mind, however, that if you miss a rent payment, the landlord can (and probably will) go after your cosigner for the money.

Prove you’re good for the money

Maybe you make more money now than you did when you were evicted. If you show the landlord that you make three times the rent (or more), they might be willing to rent to you.

Is it possible to remove an eviction from your record?

Anything on your record that’s true stays on your record for seven years. But if there’s a mistake, you can dispute it.

If you can prove to the agency reporting the error that it made a mistake, they’ll remove that error from your record. Or if you were served an eviction notice but you won, show that to the reporting agency. Some landlords try to evict people when they don’t have a valid reason for doing so.

The bottom line

If you’ve been evicted, you might not mention it to the new landlord and hope they won’t find out. But odds are they will. Landlords who screen tenants will most likely discover if you’ve been evicted within the last seven years.

The best course of action is to never be evicted in the first place. But if you were, just chalk it up to a life mistake, and rest assured knowing that your eviction won’t stay on your record forever. Plus, while you’re waiting for the eviction to come off your record, there are methods you can try. It might take more time or creativity on your part to find a rental with an eviction on your record, but it’s certainly possible. Happy renting.