An eviction is a legal proceeding in which a landlord forcibly removes a tenant from their rental property. It is a serious issue that can negatively impact one’s ability to secure housing in the future. Eviction records are maintained by various agencies and can be accessed by potential landlords, employers, and other interested parties.
Therefore, it is crucial to remove an eviction from one’s record to avoid future consequences. In this article, we will discuss how to get an eviction off your record, including legal remedies and practical steps you can take to address the issue.
Definition of eviction
Eviction is a legal process in which a landlord forcibly removes a tenant from their rental property for violating the terms of the lease agreement. This can include failure to pay rent, damaging the property, or engaging in illegal activity on the premises. Eviction proceedings typically involve court hearings and can result in a judgement against the tenant, which can have long-lasting consequences such as difficulty in finding future housing or employment.
Types of eviction records
There are two main types of eviction records: court records and tenant screening reports.
Eviction court records are public records that are maintained by the court where the eviction proceedings took place. These records typically include the court’s judgement, which can include information on the amount of unpaid rent or damages owed, as well as any court orders for eviction or removal of the tenant from the property. These records can be accessed by anyone, including landlords, employers, and other interested parties.
Tenant Screening Reports
Tenant screening reports, also known as background checks or tenant credit reports, are compiled by third-party companies that specialize in gathering information on potential tenants. These reports may include information on past evictions, as well as other details such as credit history, criminal records, and employment history. Landlords and property managers typically use tenant screening reports to evaluate the risk of renting to a particular tenant.
It is important to note that some states have laws that limit the disclosure of eviction records in tenant screening reports. Additionally, some tenant screening companies may only report on evictions that have resulted in a court judgement, while others may also report on cases where a tenant was evicted but no judgement was issued.
Who can access eviction records?
Eviction records are public records that can be accessed by anyone who requests them, subject to certain restrictions and limitations. Generally, the following parties may have access to eviction records:
Landlords and Property Managers
Landlords and property managers may request eviction records as part of their tenant screening process to evaluate the risk of renting to a particular tenant. They may use this information to assess whether a potential tenant has a history of failing to pay rent or violating lease agreements.
Employers may request eviction records as part of their background check process when considering a job applicant. This is particularly common for jobs that involve working with money or sensitive information.
Government agencies, such as housing authorities and social services agencies, may request eviction records as part of their eligibility determination process for various programs, including public housing, rental assistance, and emergency shelter.
Eviction records are considered public records, which means that anyone can request them. However, some states have laws that limit the disclosure of eviction records or require certain procedures to be followed before the records can be released.
It is important to note that some states have laws that limit the use of eviction records for certain purposes or require landlords and employers to provide notice and obtain consent before accessing them. It is recommended that you consult with a housing attorney or legal aid organization to determine your rights and options related to accessing or sharing eviction records.
Legal Remedies to Remove an Eviction Record
There are several legal remedies available to remove an eviction record from your record, including:
Expungement is a legal process that allows you to have your eviction record erased or sealed. This process varies by state and may require filing a petition with the court, providing evidence of rehabilitation, and demonstrating that the eviction record is causing significant harm.
Sealing is similar to expungement, but instead of erasing the record, it is restricted from public access. Sealing may require filing a petition with the court and demonstrating that the eviction record is causing significant harm.
Vacating the judgment
Vacating the judgment means that you are asking the court to set aside or overturn the eviction judgement. This remedy is typically only available if the eviction judgement was entered in error or there were procedural irregularities.
Pardon or clemency
In some cases, you may be able to seek a pardon or clemency from the governor or other state officials. This remedy is typically only available in extreme cases, such as when the eviction judgement was based on discriminatory practices or there were significant mitigating circumstances.
If you believe that the eviction record is inaccurate or was obtained unlawfully, you may be able to seek a court order to have the record removed. This may require filing a lawsuit and providing evidence to support your claim.
In some states, eviction records may automatically be removed after a certain period of time has elapsed. The length of the waiting period varies by state and may depend on factors such as the reason for the eviction and whether a court judgement was entered.
In some cases, you may be able to negotiate a settlement agreement with your landlord or the party who obtained the eviction judgement. This may involve paying any outstanding rent or damages, agreeing to certain conditions (such as attending a tenant education program), or other terms negotiated between the parties.
How long does the process of removing an eviction from your record take?
How to get an eviction off your record can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on a variety of factors. Some of the factors that may impact the timeline include:
- The specific legal remedy being pursued: Different legal remedies, such as expungement, sealing, or vacating the judgement, may have different timelines associated with them.
- The complexity of the case: If there are significant legal or factual issues involved in your case, it may take longer to resolve.
- The court’s schedule: Depending on the court’s workload, it may take longer to schedule a hearing or process your case.
- Whether or not there are objections: If there are objections to your request for record removal, it may take longer to resolve the case.
- The state in which the eviction occurred: Each state has its own laws and procedures related to eviction record removal, and the timeframe can vary based on these laws.
In general, it is important to be patient during the process and to work closely with an experienced attorney or legal aid organization to ensure that your case is handled effectively and efficiently.
How much does it cost to end an eviction?
The cost of ending an eviction can vary depending on a number of factors, including the state and jurisdiction where the eviction is taking place, the type of eviction, and the specific circumstances of the case. Some of the costs associated with ending an eviction may include:
Legal fees: If you hire an attorney to represent you in the eviction case, you will need to pay for their services. Attorney fees can vary widely depending on the complexity of the case, the experience of the attorney, and the amount of time spent on the case.
Court fees: There may be court fees associated with ending an eviction, such as filing fees or fees for serving papers.
Moving expenses: If you are evicted, you may need to move to a new home. The cost of moving can include hiring a moving company, renting a truck, or paying for storage.
Lost wages: If you miss work as a result of the eviction proceedings, you may lose wages or income.
Other expenses: There may be other expenses associated with ending an eviction, such as utility deposits, cleaning fees, or repair costs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1.How long does an eviction stay on your record?
Ans. An eviction can stay on your record for up to 7 years, making it challenging to rent or obtain credit.
Q2.Can I rent an apartment with an eviction on my record?
Ans. It may be challenging to rent an apartment with an eviction on your record, but some landlords may still consider your application.
Q3.Can I be evicted if I have COVID-related financial difficulties?
Ans. Temporary eviction moratoriums may apply to those with COVID-related financial difficulties, depending on state and federal laws.
Q4.How can I avoid getting evicted from my rental property?
Ans. Maintain open communication with your landlord, pay rent on time, follow lease terms, and seek assistance if needed.
Q5.What should I do if I receive an eviction notice?
Ans. Seek legal guidance, review the notice carefully, and respond appropriately within the timeframe specified.
Q6.How can I find affordable housing after being evicted?
Ans. Explore local housing assistance programs, prioritize your budget, and consider co-signers or roommates to reduce costs.