If you have a past eviction, you might be worried that it shows up on your credit report. The good news is that there’s no section on a credit report titled “Evictions,” and in fact, there is no credit reporting agency that will put your specific eviction in your credit report. The bad news, however, is that a future creditor, landlord or employer can still tell you have one, due to other clues in your credit report – or through related types of screening.
How Creditors Recognize Evictions
Even though there is no blinking neon sign in your credit report announcing that you’ve been evicted from a property, there are a number of factors that can expose your past to anyone who’s paying attention and knows what to look for.
If you’ve been evicted, it’s usually a safe bet that you’ve lost any security deposit you may have put down. The biggest reasons for eviction are nonpayment of rent, excessive damages or complaints, and in any of these cases, you probably also owe a significant amount of money to your landlord.
If they were unable to collect it themselves, they may have sent it to a collection agency to handle. If they have, the balance will show up on your credit report as a collection and may even show the name of the landlord, apartment complex, or property management company that held the original debt.
If you’ve had a civil judgment against you for nonpayment of rent, that is public record and will show on your credit report as well. The party that got the judgment against you will also be listed, as well as the amount you owed at the time of the judgment.
Outside of a landlord credit check, there are related searches that are often performed that could show an eviction you have had in your past. The credit reporting agency in that case wouldn’t be the entity where your new rental agency gets the information, but it could be part of the total background package they pay for on you when you submit a rental application.
What Does the Law Say About Reporting Evictions?
Each state has specific laws governing how landlords can evict tenants and what recourse you have in that situation. Any landlord, however, can submit information to your credit report if they have registered as a client and report to the credit bureaus that you owe them money.
They have to submit proof of what you owe, but if they have it, they can register as a creditor and submit your debt for assessment and placement on your credit report.
While it’s true that landlords cannot technically submit the eviction itself to your credit report, you can rest assured that if you have an eviction on your history, your next background check will dig it up.
>> Read More: How to Clean Up Your Credit Report
What you can do to protect yourself is ensure that any money you owe to your previous landlord has been paid. It’s not as good as simply not getting evicted, but it’ll definitely help your case if you can say that yes, you made a mistake, but you’ve taken care of it and look forward to doing things right the next time.
Some Solid Ground Resources
Credit repair: Want to learn more about financial fitness and credit repair? Contact Solid Ground’s Financial Fitness Boot Camp at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Washington state law on reporting evictions: In Washington state, you can try to get the eviction off of your tenant screening report by filing an Order of Limited Dissemination in court. For more info, read How to Stop a Landlord from Denying Your Housing Application Because of an Eviction.
The tenant information contained in this article is for informational purposes only. Solid Ground makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to its website. Solid Ground cannot act as your attorney. Solid Ground makes no representations, expressed or implied, that the information contained in or linked to its website can or will be used or interpreted in any particular way by any governmental agency or court. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided here should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel. Solid Ground Tenant Counselors offer tenant tips as generalized information for renters. People with specific questions should call our Tenant Services Message Hotline at 206.694.6767 (currently open for messages Mondays and Thursdays between 10:30am and 1:30pm – hours subject to change) or visit our For Tenants webpages at any time.