Does An Eviction Hurt Your Credit?

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  • Does An Eviction Hurt Your Credit?
22 Apr, 2024
Daniel Cohen
9 min
1251
Key left in a keyhole

An eviction will not directly affect your credit, but the steps you take afterward will. Discover the right steps.

Your credit report is a thorough chronicle of your financial history. Nevertheless, an eviction will not automatically appear on your credit report or hurt your credit status, but only if you take critical steps to minimize the damage following your eviction. This article outlines the right steps and where to seek help when you need it.

If you have recently been evicted from your home, whether from an apartment or a house, you surely have many things on your mind. Among them are probably where to live next, what to do with your stuff, and more immediate concerns. However, there will likely be a day when you wonder how, if at all, this eviction will harm your credit status and lower your credit score. The answer to the question, “Does an eviction hurt your credit?” depends on a couple of things.

  • Why did you get evicted?
  • What did you do in the aftermath of the eviction?

As consumer law attorneys, we represent people dealing with all sorts of issues that affect consumers. The relationships between landlords, property managers, consumer reporting agencies, background check companies, employers, and anyone else who might ever seek to look into your background and your financial history can be confusing for a consumer. What does the consumer reporting agency know about what the property manager at my apartment complex just did? What will my employer know? And how will what anyone knows about my eviction affect my prospects for future housing, future credit, and future employment?

This article provides an overview of how eviction might affect your credit status. Because every situation is different and because laws can vary from state to state, we encourage you to contact an experienced consumer law attorney for answers to specific questions and legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

What is an Eviction?

An eviction is a legal process by which a landlord can remove a tenant from a property because the tenant violates the lease or some other regulation. The laws regulating eviction in the USA vary across the states. All states require the landlord to give you notice that they have initiated eviction proceedings. State laws vary concerning how that notice must be delivered, the number of days in advance of any court dates the notice must be delivered, and the substance of the notice, which is to say, whether the notice must provide all future court dates and how specific the landlord must be in identifying the reasons for the eviction.

There are many reasons a tenant might be evicted from their home:

  • failure to pay rent.
  • some violations of the lease, like having pets or too many occupants.
  • some sort of criminal activity taking place in the home.
  • excessive damage to the home.
  • some kind of activity that threatens the health and welfare of other tenants, like reckless driving through the parking lot
  • a sufficient amount of complaints by neighbors.

A tenant's lease and the laws of the state provide additional insight into reasons for eviction that might affect you.

How an Eviction Works

The landlord just can’t kick a tenant out of their home. The landlord must file for eviction in the appropriate court of whatever jurisdiction is the site of the eviction. Both the landlord and the tenant then appear in court for a hearing, and if the court grants the eviction, the tenant will have a certain number of days to leave the home before the sheriff or some other law enforcement authority comes to the home and makes the tenant leave.

Does an Eviction Go on Your Credit Report

As a general rule, an eviction will not appear on your credit report and will not affect your credit.

However, in some circumstances, in the aftermath of the eviction, some eviction-related things could appear on your credit report and could have a corrosive effect on both your credit status and your future ability to rent.

  • The landlord or property manager sends you to collections. If the reason for your eviction was unpaid rent or if you still owe the landlord money when you are evicted, then the landlord could send or sell your debt to a collections agency. Most times, the landlord will try to collect the debt themselves. It is unlikely a landlord will notify any of the three primary credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - while collecting the debt. However, once the debt is sent or sold to collections, the collections agency is likely to report it to collections.
  • The landlord obtains a court order or judgment. If you are evicted and the landlord discovers significant property damage or some other reason to file a civil suit against you, a court order or a judgment against you could appear on your credit report. That judgment will almost surely be a part of the public record, depending on the nature of the judgment and how thoroughly a consumer reporting agency digs into those public records, will determine if the court order or judgment appears on your credit report.
  • Landlord’s failure to update records. Consumer reporting agencies rely on financial institutions, creditors, and landlords to provide them with the information they use to determine your credit status and affect your credit score. If a landlord neglects to update their records and somehow identifies you as being behind in your rent despite the fact you no longer live there, then that could appear on your credit report. errors and inaccuracies of all sorts can appear on someone's credit report.

Note that while evictions will not appear on a credit report, it is likely that any eviction will appear on a tenant report.

What You Need to Do if You See Eviction on Your Credit Report

It is unlikely that you will see the eviction on the credit report. Therefore, there is little to do with a credit report after an eviction. However, if any of the resulting post-eviction issues appear on your credit report, there are ways to help repair your credit. We will discuss those later.

Can You Dispute an Eviction?

You can dispute anything on your credit report if it is wrong or inaccurate. A federal law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) anticipates consumer reporting agencies making mistakes. Therefore, the FCRA provides the procedures and protocols for disputes for both the consumer and the consumer reporting agency. A dispute starts with requesting a copy of your credit report from the three major consumer reporting agencies and reviewing each report thoroughly, making a note of all the errors and inaccuracies. Contact a consumer lawyer for credit dispute advice.

How to Get Eviction Off Your Credit

Unless it is factually wrong, you will not be able to simply remove an eviction and its aftermath from your credit report. However, there are ways to minimize the damage and repair your credit status.

Does Eviction Affect Your Credit?

Again, an eviction will not directly affect your credit. However, being sent to collections or having a civil judgment against you likely will.

How Many Points Does an Eviction Drop Your Credit Score

Post-eviction fallout, like collections, can reduce or affect your credit score by up to 100 points. It does not matter how much you owe. Any sort of collection activity can have a devastating effect on and lower your credit score.

How Long Does an Eviction Stay on Your Record

Post-eviction activity, like being sent to collections, can stay on your credit report for up to seven years.

Can You Restore Your Credit Score After an Eviction

Yes, you can restore your credit score after an eviction. If the landlord sends you to a collections agency, you can communicate directly with the collections agency and negotiate a payment plan or some other payoff for that debt. At that point, you can request that the collections agency alert the consumer reporting agencies of that repayment. While this will likely not completely restore your credit score, it will help.

Additionally, you can pay extra attention to paying all your bills on time, minimizing your credit utilization ratio, and diversifying your debt.

In what Cases Do You Need the Help of a Lawyer

Consumers can dispute and negotiate with consumer reporting agencies, landlords, and collections agencies all by themselves. However, an experienced consumer protection or credit reporting lawyer can make the process easier, can provide support to you throughout the process, can develop strategies tailored to your specific circumstances and specific goals, negotiate with collections agencies and consumer reporting agencies, identify legal issues, and if appropriate, file a lawsuit and help you get as much compensation as you deserve.

Contact Us When You Need Attorneys Help

The aftermath of an eviction can have indirect but still significant effects on and lower your credit score. Your credit score is very important, and if you have any questions about what affects it and how, contact Consumer Attorneys. Consumer protection is what we do. We know consumer protection laws. We know how credit reporting agencies manufacture your credit score. And we know when it's appropriate to take action against a consumer reporting agency to get you the compensation you deserve for any damage they have caused.

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We can help you identify the reason for the drop in your credit score. And if there’s any legal action to take, we will be able to advise you on the best plan of action and help you take the right steps to recover.

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Daniel Cohen is the Founding Partner of Consumer Attorneys
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Daniel Cohen
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Daniel Cohen is the Founder of Consumer Attorneys. Daniel manages the firm’s branding, marketing, client intake and business development efforts. Since 2017, he is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the National Consumer Law Center. Mr. Cohen is a nationally-recognized practitioner of consumer protection law. He has a wealth of proven legal experience in the US in: collective claims, representing visually impaired people who believe their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act have been violated in both the physical and digital environments, corporate governance and dispute resolution. Read more

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