How to Get an Eviction Off Your Record

Updated February 14, 2024
6 min read
Title "How to Get an Eviction Off Your Record"; scales, papers, stamp, house

Having an eviction filed against you by your landlord is a highly stressful experience. Not only is it terrifying that you may have nowhere to live in the immediate future, but it also makes the possibility of finding a new home intimidating and impacts your credit report. Evictions are all held on public record, and your new landlord will be able to discover your previous rental history. However, with some work, it is possible to remove an eviction from your record.

Keep reading to learn how to remove an eviction from your record. In this article, we talk about how the eviction process works, share a step-by-step guide on how to get your eviction expunged, and share other legal advice to help your case.

What’s Involved in the Eviction Process?

If tenants violate the terms of their lease agreement, landlords have the legal right to take action and file for eviction. However, before starting the process, landlords must first provide written notice to their tenants that clearly outlines the terms they violated and what actions must be taken to rectify the situation.

Eviction generally arises from a tenant’s failure to pay rent or issuing bad checks. Each state has its own laws governing eviction, which can differ widely. In California, a lease agreement is a legally-binding document that spells out the rights and obligations of both landlords and tenants in the state. It can be a valuable aid in the eviction process, ensuring that all parties are treated with fairness and dignity.

In these mentioned reasons for the violation, the letter may include details of the outstanding rent balance and a timeframe in which the tenant has to pay overdue rent. Breaking other lease terms, such as subletting a room without approval, could give the landlord grounds for eviction. Failure to correct the errors — such as paying the outstanding rent or fixing another issue by the specified date — will result in you having to go to court to defend yourself against eviction.

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The tenant must vacate the property if the landlord wins the eviction case. A local authority will arrive at the rental unit and give a few days’ notice of eviction. The tenant will then be expected to move all their belongings before the local authority returns to the property. In some severe cases, such as if the tenant was conducting illegal activities within the property, an unconditional eviction notice will be handed out. This means that there is no way the tenant can correct the lease violation, and it goes straight to the courts. The tenant then must move out immediately.

How Long Does an Eviction Stay on Your Record?

Generally speaking, an eviction stays on your record as part of your rental history for seven years. This is a public record and is available to all future landlords and creditors within this period.

This can negatively impact your ability to find another rental property and obtain financial loans if and when needed. Even after seven years, some evictions will continue to show up in background checks and tenant screening reports.

Therefore, many tenants wish to get the eviction removed from their public record and sealed by a judge so that the circuit clerk won’t allow anyone to see the eviction in the future.

How Can I Clear My Rental History?

You can get an eviction from a previous landlord off your record. However, this is no easy feat!

Generally, the courts will only allow an eviction removal from your record if your landlord did not follow proper procedures. Therefore, anyone who believes they were wrongly evicted should take their case to court. In the US, eviction laws vary by state, so the tenant’s rights will differ depending on the jurisdiction in which you live. As such, it is always advisable to speak with an attorney knowledgeable about local landlord-tenant laws for legal advice.

It may also be worth taking the case to court if you can prove that you never violated your lease in the first place. If the courts decide that the eviction was indeed wrongful, the eviction will be wiped from your record. This is done by sealing the documents that are unavailable for landlords and lenders to view.

If you’ve been evicted and believe that it was unjust or unfair, you may be able to get the eviction removed from your record. It won’t be easy, but following the steps in this guide can help increase your chances of success:

1. Settle all outstanding rental debts

Failure to pay outstanding rent is the basis for almost all evictions in the US. Therefore, getting the eviction off your record may be possible by paying all outstanding debts. Even in cases where this isn’t possible, tenants might be able to negotiate a payment plan with the property manager or debt collector. If you decide to go down this avenue, ensure that the previous landlord is happy and willing to get the eviction removed and ask for a written statement confirming this.

2. Request removal of collection activity

Having settled all outstanding debts, the eviction may still show on your credit report. Therefore, you should contact the collection agency and ask that the eviction be removed from the credit report as an agreement for settling the debts. Whether negotiating a repayment plan or paying back the outstanding rent in full, this should be done. Always make sure the agreement is in writing.

3. Request removal from tenant screening

As the tenant, you should ask the property manager to remove the eviction from all tenant screening reports that future landlords and property owners can see. Again, this must be made a condition of settling the outstanding rent balance. The request and agreement need to be in writing in case any disputes arise.

4. File a formal dispute

If the above steps have all been followed and the eviction is still showing on your record, a formal dispute should be raised with the credit bureau and tenant screening companies. When filing the dispute, you will need to show proof of the above agreements. After the disputes are settled, the eviction should no longer show on any records.

Can I Still Rent If I Have an Eviction on My Record?

After an eviction, renting can be a real challenge. Most property management companies and landlords rely on background checks and tenant screening reports when choosing candidates.

As such, potential tenants with a history of eviction are less likely to be considered than people with a clean record. However, here are some tips on how to make renting a little easier until the eviction removal from the record is complete:

  • Improve credit rating: Although an eviction record never looks good, having an excellent credit report with a good score can show that you are in control of your finances and could be a reliable tenant after all.

  • Explain what happened: Being truthful about what happened with your previous landlord and any personal issues linked to the eviction can help the new property manager understand and sympathize with your situation. Be sure to share any steps you have made to prevent the same problems from arising in the future.

  • Collect references: Although your public record may not look favorable, there will be people in your life that can vouch for your reliability. Try to collect references from these individuals to help prove your eviction was a blip and your character can be trusted.

  • Rent privately: Tenants with an eviction record should consider renting privately. Some large property management companies have certain restrictions and company policies that state they cannot accept a tenant with previous evictions, even if they want to. As such, it may be better to look for a privately owned property with more flexible terms.

  • Negotiate deposits: If financially able, a tenant might consider paying a more significant upfront deposit. This reassures the property manager that you are in an excellent financial position and are serious about sticking with the lease terms.

Conclusion

As you have learned, it is possible to get an eviction removed from your record. However, this will require you to take the case to court or form a settlement agreement. This can make renting and signing a new lease agreement more accessible in the future. In the worst cases where you cannot get the eviction removed, the above tips should help make finding a new property easier. 

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