March 28th, 2013

How Does an Eviction Affect My Credit?

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How Does an Eviction Affect My Credit?

Unlawful detainer.

Chances are you don’t know what that means, unless you’ve been expelled from your home. It’s the technical term for the legal action taken to evict someone from a property.

Unsurprisingly, evictions most frequently occur when a tenant has broken the terms of his or her lease, like when you fail to pay rent. That kind can do a number on your credit health. But there are other types as well.

Today, we’ll take a quick look at the different types of evictions and then go over how an eviction can affect your credit.

Different Kinds of Evictions

There are four most common types of evictions.

  • Failure to pay rent. When a tenant is late in paying rent, the landlord can issue a three-day notice to “pay rent or quit.” If the tenant pays during that three-day period, he’ll be able to stay. Even a partial payment, if accepted by the landlord, negates the notice of eviction. But if the tenant fails to pay, the owner has to file an unlawful detainer to regain possession of the property.
  • Breaking the terms of a rental agreement. If a tenant goes against the terms set out in his rental agreement–such as keeping a pet on the property when not allowed–the landlord can give a ten-day notice for the tenant to comply with the agreement or leave the property. If the tenant fixes the problem, he gets to stay. Otherwise, the landlord can move forward with the eviction process.
  • For creating “waste or nuisance.” In simpler terms, this is an eviction for being a messy and destructive tenant. It can also be issued if the tenant is conducting unlawful activity on the premises. When this three-day notice is given, the tenant has no option to remedy the situation–he has to move out.
  • For no cause. As long as the eviction isn’t proven to be discriminatory or retaliatory, a landlord can evict a month-to-month tenant without stating a specific reason. The difference here is that the tenant receives a 20-day notice, which must come at least 20 days before the next rent is due. This type of eviction is not permitted in some larger cities.

How does an eviction get on my credit report?

It’s important to know that just receiving an eviction notice isn’t what puts it on your credit report. An unlawful detainer must be filed in court. The property manager has to obtain an eviction judgment from local small claims or civil court.

Once the judge has ruled in favor of the property manager and the judgment is final, the three major credit bureaus will receive notices of the eviction and add it to the tenant’s credit report in the form of a public record.

How does an eviction affect my credit?

Evictions that go to court and are filed as judgments against you are treated as public records on a credit report. A public record stays on your credit for up to seven years from the date it’s filed, and it can’t be removed early in most cases. It can have several affects on your credit and your life in general:

  • It’ll ding your credit score. This is the most obvious affect. You can simulate how several different types of public records can affect your credit score with the Credit Simulator.
  • It’ll hurt your chances at a job. Though not all do, an employer can check potential job candidates’ credit report. A public record on your credit report can be a red flag for some employers. But there are ways you can prepare yourself if you’re on the job hunt and you’re worried about a black mark on your report.
  • It’ll make it hard for you to rent again. It’s not impossible, but finding a new apartment with an eviction under your belt can be tough. Here are a few tips to help:
    • Start improving your credit health immediately. Use the guidelines in this blog post: My Credit Is Terrible. Now What?
    • Use a rental brokerage service. Explain your situation to them and see if they can help you find an apartment without a background or credit check.
    • Be willing to compromise. Offer to pay a higher security deposit and definitely be ready to explain any helpful circumstances of your eviction.

Bottom Line: I don’t have to tell you to avoid an eviction at all costs–that much is obvious and unhelpful if you already have one on your credit report. But this guide should help you better understand your situation and turn things around for the better. Good luck!

Have you bounced back from an eviction? Tell us about it in the comments!


is the Social Media Manager and Writer at Credit Karma, where she’s been since February 2011. When she’s not writing about credit and finance all over the web, you can find her playing her guitar, catching the latest movie, training for her next race or just exploring the city of San Francisco. Say “Hi” on Twitter: @bhardeman.

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  1. So if someone pays on time as required and is evected for having a dog would that appear on their credit?

    George at 3:39 pm on September 14, 2013
  2. Very useful post. Eviction is indeed a very stress giving process.

    Craig Zim at 1:14 am on September 19, 2013
  3. After finding out the condo Im renting is in foreclosure I stopped paying
    The landlord. He the file an eviction notice . The courts wanted
    Me to deposit the amount owed but I already gave a portion of the
    Money to another someone who claim he had a place I could move in.
    So I just did not have all the funds because I not mot deposit the funds
    In courtI did not have a hearing I file a motion twice n was rejected because
    I had to put the full amount in the courts . Well now it showing on my renters
    agency I cant get a place to live . Now the owner wants to make
    A deal with me to pay at least a half . Im asking him to remove
    My name and I will pay him . He said to find out how n when Im paying
    Him he will remove it can this be removed ?
    Thank u

    Elaine at 3:25 pm on October 7, 2013
  4. I currently have 2. The really old one was legitimate I can’t be mad at them. The most recent (3 years ago) was a wishy washy landlord who was back and forth about me staying or leaving. They bought the property AFTER I moved in. They told me in Oct. 2011 I had to move, then came back in Nov. 2011 and told me I could stay if I paid a higher rent starting December 1st 2011. Then they came back Nov. 30th 2011 and told me I had to move. So I told her if she wanted me to leave she had to evict me because she was too wishy washy. How do I bounce back from that? There were no monies owed when I was evicted but the judge wanted to try to give them some of my money anyway. Since I didn’t owe the money I refused to pay and I will always refuse to pay.

    Angela at 6:17 pm on March 16, 2014
  5. for clarification of my first comment I meant that I will always refuse to pay that particular landlord only because 1) she was not legitimately owed any money and 2) the games she played caused undue stress and I feel played a significant role in causing my miscarriage

    Angela at 6:28 pm on March 16, 2014

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