Getting evicted is always stressful, but that’s especially true if you’re evicted unfairly or through an illegal process. In addition, evictions can show up on your credit report, causing problems when you apply for new housing later down the road.
It's important to know how to dispute an eviction on your credit report, particularly if you believe the eviction was unfair. Read on for more information.
Yes. Your credit report is more than just a list of debt accounts or bills under your name. It’s also a fairly comprehensive collection of all financial activity records that are available to the public or to private organizations.
For instance, when you take out a mortgage or sign a lease to rent an apartment, that activity shows up on your credit report even without some amount of money changing hands. If you’re evicted, that information will also appear on your credit report since it’s a financially noteworthy event.
Technically, evictions do not directly impact your credit score. Your credit score – that is, the number put together by the credit bureaus to indicate your creditworthiness or financial trustworthiness – is mostly calculated by looking at things like bills paid, outstanding debts, charged-off debts, etc.
If you’re evicted, that eviction may not necessarily cause your credit score to decrease. However, it’s still bad to have an eviction on your credit report. Why?
Because it’s information that future lenders, landlords, or homeowners may have access to when they decide whether to let you rent or purchase property later on. Say that you are evicted from your previous apartment and are now hunting for a new place to live.
When you apply for a new apartment, all your information looks good, but the apartment landlord does a credit check. They notice that you have an eviction record on your credit report, which raises some questions and red flags in their mind.
Even though the eviction may not necessarily decrease your credit score, it can still make securing future housing more difficult. Therefore, it’s always a wise idea to get erroneous evictions – or evictions that occurred for unfair reasons – removed from your credit report if possible.
Most evictions stay on your credit report for seven years, which is the same length of time that a standard bankruptcy stays on a credit report. So if you were evicted in 2012, that eviction should leave your credit report sometime in 2019.
If you are evicted lawfully and without erroneous information, that eviction stays on your credit report for seven years. Fortunately, if you can secure housing after being evicted, that more recent activity will be more important to future lenders.
You can remove an eviction from your credit report under a variety of circumstances.
For example, say that you were evicted from your apartment because your landlord erroneously or inaccurately accused you of breaking your lease. Because of stress, frustration, or simply not knowing what to do, you complied with the eviction or were forced to comply by local law enforcement officers, even though you did not break your lease and should not have been evicted in the first place.
A few weeks later, you try to look for a new apartment or place to live, only to find that your eviction record is preventing you from finding housing. To that end, you decide to get the eviction removed from your credit report. Even though you can’t and don’t want to go back to your first apartment, there’s no reason the landlord’s illegal or otherwise unfair activity should continue to affect your housing situation.
You can remove an eviction from your credit report:
Essentially, if there was any illegal activity in the eviction process, you could have grounds to remove that eviction from your credit report.
Removing an eviction from your credit report can be difficult, however. You’ll need to provide a lot of information to the credit bureaus to prove that the eviction occurred under duress or under illegal circumstances.
To begin the process, you should write a dispute letter to each of the credit bureaus that have a record of the unfair or illegal eviction. You can file a dispute letter online or by mail, but online is usually faster.
As you write your dispute letter, you must be sure to include all relevant documentation at your disposal, including:
You also need to include a direct request that the credit bureau remove the illegal eviction from your credit report.
If you provide the bureaus with enough information, they should be willing to remove an illegal eviction from your credit report within a few weeks. However, because the bureaus need to be sure the eviction was unfair or illegal, they may request more documentation or evidence, which could extend this timeline.
If you wish to dispute an eviction on your credit report, remember that it all starts with filing a credit dispute letter with one or more credit bureaus. Include as much information as you can in the dispute letter so the credit bureau can determine whether the eviction was handled fairly and properly or if the eviction line item on your report should have a note explaining your situation attached to it for future lenders and landlords.