Did you know that there are nearly 1.5 million eviction rulings in the United States each year, according to research from Princeton University’s Eviction Lab? If you’re part of that 1.5 million, you may be wondering how you can even rent with an eviction on your record, how long do evictions stay on your record, and how can you find apartments with eviction forgiveness?
We answer these questions and more, including tips for winning landlords over so you can find your next rental home, regardless if you’ve been previously evicted.
What is an eviction?
An eviction is when a landlord forces a tenant to leave a property. Tenants can be evicted for violating terms in their lease, such as failing to pay rent on time, staying in the building past the end date of their lease, or having a pet when the building doesn’t allow renting with pets. Or, you may be evicted because the building needs to undergo lead removal or another procedure which requires tenants to move out.
How to find out if you have an eviction on your record
Because evictions are legal proceedings, evictions go on your legal record. They also show up on your rental history report and your background check. To see if you have an eviction notice, you can request a copy of your rental history report from a reputable credit reporting agency. Or, you can run a background check on yourself for any signs of poor rental history.
If you have a prior eviction on your record, don’t worry. There are still ways you can find your next rental home.
11 Ways to get an apartment with an eviction on your record
There are many steps you can take to increase your chances of getting an apartment with an eviction on your record.
1. Try to get the eviction removed from your record
The first thing you should try if you have an eviction on your record is to have it removed. This will make it much easier to rent future apartments or homes, regardless if you’re wanting to rent an apartment in Cordova, TN, or a rental home in Columbus, OH. If your eviction was due to owed rent or other costs where you were delinquent in payment, you can offer to pay off past balances to have your eviction erased. You can also have your eviction removed from your record if the eviction was done illegally, such as not giving you enough notice.
2. Talk to your previous landlord
Chat with your previous landlord and offer to pay any outstanding balances. In some cases, property managers may be lenient, and they may even agree to erase the eviction from your record if past debts are resolved. They may even be willing to provide you with a positive reference for your new apartment.
3. Improve your credit score
Most landlords look for their tenants to have a credit score above 670 and higher. The higher your credit score, the more likely your landlord is to discuss your previous eviction to better understand the circumstances and get a complete picture of you as a renter. Plus, they’ll trust you more to pay rent in full and on time if you have a good financial track record.
Some ways to get your credit score up quickly include paying off past debts, especially high-interest ones like credit card debt. If you have only one or two lines of credit, you may consider opening another line of credit too, as that can improve your score. Lastly, it’s important that you try not to use up more than one third of your credit limit every month. For example, if your credit limit is $3,000, keep your credit spending to $1,000 per month, and make sure you pay it off in full to ensure that your score continues to climb.
4. Offer to pay higher rent
Paying more rent each month won’t just pad your property manager’s pockets, it will make you a more attractive renter. By saying you’re willing to pay higher rent each month, you’re telling your future landlord that you are a financially responsible renter. That can go a long way, though they will probably want proof of your income or assets to prove you can afford paying higher rent.
5. Obtain references
Another great way to showcase yourself as an attractive renter is to list letters of reference in your apartment applications. You may want to consider asking an employer or even a previous landlord for a reference. They can vouch for your ability to pay rent in full every month as well as your ability to be a respectful tenant.
Your references can write letters for you, or you can list their emails or phone numbers alongside their names in your rental application. Make sure that they are prepared to make the case that your eviction was a one-time thing that won’t ever happen again. After all, property managers want to hear that you’ve corrected your past actions and that you’ll be a responsible tenant going forward.
6. Create a renter’s resume or cover letter
Creating a renter’s resume or cover letter is a great way to showcase your strengths as a renter. You should treat a renter’s resume like you would treat a resume for a job; make sure it is typed, organized, and that it makes the best case for you as a renter.
Some things to include in a renter’s resume or cover letter are your name, contact information, monthly income, and employment history, just like you would include in an employment resume, and reasons why you would make a great renter. This should help strengthen your case.
7. Prepare to be transparent and offer an explanation
Your new potential landlord will definitely want to know about the eviction on your record. If you can, explain your eviction as honestly and clearly as possible on the phone, in person, or in a cover letter.
After explaining your eviction, remember to make a case to your new landlord about why and how you’ll be a great tenant going forward. For example, if you were evicted because you had a problematic pet, offer to introduce your pet to the landlord. The bottom line is that the landlord wants to know exactly what happened and what you’re going to do to make sure it will not happen in their rental.
8. Consider renting from a private landord
Private landlords are just people who manage their own rental properties rather than having a property management company do it for them.
Private landlords are often more understanding of past evictions, or they may even own apartments with eviction forgiveness (more on this later). In general, renting from private landlords is a more personal experience than renting from a management company, which can work in your favor if you have an eviction on your record.
You can find properties owned by private landlords on social media sites as well as public marketplaces. Just be careful to vet the property beforehand to make sure that it is not a rental scam.
9. Get a guarantor, co-signer, or roommate
Another way to strengthen your case is to get a guarantor, co-signer, or roommate who has excellent credit and doesn’t have an eviction. If a landlord knows that you have someone who is willing to back you up, they will be more likely to believe that you will be a reliable renter. Also, they will be reassured that you will pay rent in full and on time.
10. Offer to pay monthly rent in advance for a new apartment
One way to make your case as a potential renter with an eviction is to offer to pay rent in advance for a new apartment. If you can offer your new property manager the first two or three months’ rent up front, they will be much more likely to trust that you are serious about the apartment and that you’ll be a reliable tenant.
11. Offer to pay a higher deposit
No matter what you were evicted for, offering to pay a higher security deposit can really strengthen your case as a prospective tenant. In order to make the most attractive offer, you’ll want to pay a few months rent up front as a deposit. It may be expensive, but paying a higher deposit is one of the best ways to make your case.
Does an eviction hurt your credit?
While an eviction doesn’t directly hurt your credit, if you were evicted for past-due rent or other unpaid financial charges, that can hurt your credit. Also, if late payments have been sent to collections, that can really take a toll on your credit score.
How long do evictions stay on your record??
Once you are evicted from a property, that eviction stays on your record for at least seven years and up to ten years if any past-due balances were sent to collections. The records that show your eviction are typically included in your background check, tenant screening report, rental history report, and credit report. And because eviction rulings are made by local courts, the eviction goes on your legal record.
How to get an eviction off your record
Whether you are renting in Minneapolis or Tampa, there are some ways you can go about getting an eviction removed from your record. You may need to call multiple people to have your eviction removed from all of your paperwork, such as your legal record and credit report.
Pay or settle your rental debts
First, as mentioned earlier, offer to pay or settle your past rental debts with your previous landlord. Then, they may be willing to remove the eviction from your records.
Ask to have collections removed from your credit report
Having collections removed from your credit report can help your credit score as well as potentially remove traces of your eviction and any other debts from your record. There are two ways you can have collections removed from your credit report. You can either ask for a goodwill deletion if you’ve paid off the outstanding debt, or you can dispute it if the collection on your report is an error.
Ask to have the eviction removed from your tenant-screening reports
Tenant screening reports are sometimes used by landlords to see if they want to rent to you. If you have paid off your debts with your previous landlord or reached another settlement, you can ask them to remove the eviction from your tenant screening reports. You may need to follow up with a collections agency too to confirm that your landlord sent any owed balance to collections.
In the event that an error was made by your landlord, credit bureau, or collection agency, you can dispute the errors to have the eviction removed from your record.
There are many ways an error can be made in the eviction process. For example, your landlord may not have given you proper notice for the eviction or filed the appropriate paperwork. Also, credit bureaus and collection agencies may report charges in an incorrect amount or possibly make another error.
To have your eviction removed from your record, you can dispute any errors made with your landlord, credit bureau, collection agency, or other company. If you can get the eviction removed, getting a rental will be a lot easier.
Take your eviction to court
If you believe you were wrongfully evicted, you can take your eviction to court to have it removed from your record, such as if you were wrongfully evicted due to discrimination, which is in violation of the Fair Housing Act
You can take your eviction to court if your landlord violated any rules regarding evictions. And if you win, your eviction should be removed from your record.
The bottom line for renting with an eviction
Although it isn’t easy to rent with an eviction, there are many ways to navigate how to rent with an eviction on your record. And, there are plenty of ways to have the eviction removed from your paperwork as well.
Redfin does not provide legal, financial, or tax advice. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional.
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