The best way to deal with an eviction is to fight it before you have to leave your home.
But not everyone who fights will win. And after you were fired, the nightmare wasn’t over. Having a parcel on your record can create difficulties in the future, just as you are trying to get back on your feet again.
Even in these difficult circumstances, there are some steps you can take to mitigate the damage of an evacuation.
Is there a permanent record of my eviction?
Yes, there will be a permanent record of your expulsion. If your case is taken to court, it will appear in the civil court records.
Most importantly, your eviction will likely show up when your future landlord requests a rental history report on you from tenant screening services or credit reporting offices. It will likely include three components:
- Rental history report
- Credit report or credit score
- Criminal background check
The rental history report itself will contain information about where you live, including any evictions. Usually, information from this report falls out after seven years.
As for your credit report, technically the eviction does not appear there. However, if your landlord reports a late rent to the credit bureaus, it will show. The landlord can also report any money the judge orders you to pay as part of the civil action associated with your eviction.
Consequences of eviction
Attorney Patience Kaysee-Saydee of Kaysee Legal Group says that any landlord can withdraw your rental history as part of the application process. If the owner is a large property management company, they are more likely to check.
“But it’s not impossible to rent after you have a negative item on your rental history,” Kaysee-Saydee says.
Some landlords will allow you to explain the status of your eviction. If you are willing to pay a higher security deposit, they may still be willing to let you rent.
This is not easy, especially if you owe rent. Many people who have been evicted move in with family for a while in order to correct their financial situation. This gives you time to save that initial security deposit.
How to proceed with the eviction on your record
There are some additional things that you should do during this temporary period as well.
pay the rent
Yes, you are staying with friends or family to save money. But paying a nominal amount of rent to your host can help you get your feet on the ground with future landlords.
Kaysee-Saydee says it’s important to have a written record of both the informal rental agreement and the payments you make to your friend or family member. These papers can be used to prove your liability to potential owners in the near future.
Work on your credit
Negative items will fall off your credit report within seven years. But you don’t necessarily have to wait that long.
If you are able, try to make financial adjustments with the landlord who evicted you. Once you begin to implement your arrangements, you can write a letter of goodwill. This letter requests that any late rents or other items reported by the landlord to the credit bureaus be removed.
You can try the same process to decide your rental history.
The owner is not legally obligated to agree to your application. But it is worth a try.
Even if your credit report and rental history can’t be fixed right away, getting things right with the previous landlord serves another purpose. If you have good conditions, you can ask them for a letter of reference.
This reference letter may talk about the fact that even though you are experiencing financial difficulties, you are either struggling to get things right or you are doing it. The fact that the person who fired you guarantees your character can go a long way.
When you have an eviction on record, the landlord is especially likely to want proof that you’re making enough money to cover your rent.
Kaysee-Saydee says most landlords will want to see at least three months of their paycheck. Create a buffer for this three-month period when you discuss living arrangements with your temporary host.
If you’re having trouble finding a job during the pandemic, be sure to check out our work-from-home job listings and consider a bridge job to keep some money coming in.
Get to know the Cosigner
Kaysee-Saydee notes that some landlords may need a cosigner after finding a disclaimer on your registry. Getting a cosigner can also help you avoid increased security deposits in some cases.
“The ideal cosigner could be your partner, spouse, parent, other friend or family member,” Kaysee-Saydee says. “They will need a clean record and be able to prove their income.”
Your cosigner is financially liable if you fall short on rent. It’s a huge responsibility, and not everyone you ask will be willing or able to take it.
Exit on the other side of the evacuation process
Losing your home is a painful experience. While you are doing this, you may feel like you are walking in a fog even as you are asked to make decisions that affect your future housing prospects.
You can speed up the recovery process by taking proactive actions before and after an evacuation. The lawyer arrives. Find a friend or family member who can offer you a place to stay for a while. While you’re there, take active steps to improve your financial situation.
This will undoubtedly be a difficult time in your life. But taking active steps to improve what you can can make return more likely.
Brian Conroy, a Pittsburgh-based writer, is the founder of the Femme Frugality blog and author of “The Feminist Financial Handbook.” She is a regular contributor to The Penny Hoarder.