If you’ve dealt with an eviction in the past, you may be wondering how to keep this from your public records and prevent it from affecting your future rental prospects.
Depending on specific circumstances, it may be possible to remove an eviction from public records. Our article gives you more details on this and provides an overview of the general steps you may need to take to achieve the removal of an eviction from your record.
How Do Evictions Affect You?
Evictions are never something that a renter wants to deal with, but sometimes they are unavoidable. If you’ve lost a job, fallen sick, or experienced another circumstance that makes it hard to ensure timely payments, you risk getting evicted.
Other reasons that might lead to an eviction include domestic violence or criminal activities on a property, not abiding by proper community health and safety standards, partial rent payments, violating the lease, or causing extensive property damage.
Rental and eviction laws do vary by state, so it’s important to research what the laws in your state might be and consult your leasing agreement for more information about the eviction terms.
If you do end up with an eviction to your name, you may experience the following issues when it comes to future renting or your financial history:
- You will likely owe back rent for any unpaid terms in the rental agreements and court costs related to the process of evicting you from a property.
- It’s difficult to find landlords willing to rent to someone with an eviction on their record, as they want to avoid having to go through eviction proceedings themselves.
- The debt you owe to a landlord may be sent to collections, which will affect your credit score; a lower credit score means more difficulty when it comes to purchasing larger items and applying to rental properties.
Removing an eviction from public records when possible can help you avoid these lingering issues that result from the eviction process.
Can You Remove an Eviction From Public Records?
There are only certain circumstances in which an eviction is eligible to be removed from public record, and this does depend on varying state laws. In general, eviction expungements are granted for the following reasons:
- Eviction cases that were taken to court were ruled in favor of the tenant.
- The eviction was the result of landlord retaliation.
- Eviction cases where the lease terms were deemed as not violated.
- The landlord didn’t follow legal state eviction procedures.
- The landlord’s own property was in foreclosure during the eviction process.
- An eviction notice was given after the tenant had already moved out of the unit.
- The expungement of an eviction is determined to be in the “interest of justice,” which occurs when the eviction happened due to circumstances beyond the tenant’s control, or if a period of time has passed since the eviction.
- The previous landlord provides a written agreement for the requested expungement.
Make sure that you consult with a legal professional and reference your state’s laws regarding the circumstances when eviction expungement is possible.
Steps for Getting an Eviction Expunged
If eviction expungement is allowed in your state, it will typically follow these steps. Make sure to consult with a legal professional when needed if you need assistance or advice about petitioning for eviction expungement on your record. web series review
- Check with specific state laws to figure out if eviction expungement is possible in your state and access detailed information about this process. It’s important to start here to figure out if you need legal assistance and whether or not eviction expungement is even possible in regard to your specific circumstances.
- As you are evicted, you will most likely need to be present in court. A key part of raising your chances of an eviction expungement being granted is winning your eviction case. Winning means that the landlord who evicted you was in the wrong, violating legal state eviction proceedings, or started their eviction lawsuit without basis. All of these factors contribute to eventually having the eviction removed from public record.
- Review any eviction paperwork associated with your case including your leasing agreement, eviction notices, and documents that were presented in court during your case. Making sure you understand the documents at your disposal and keeping them in a safe place will be helpful when it comes to filing for expungement, especially if you have documents that display poor or illegal practices from your landlord.
- States have different types of expungements and you will need to research each type to see which is the best for your circumstances. The three main types are “inherent authority,” “Statutory,” and “Mandatory.” You can read more about these types and which situations they are the most helpful in here.
- File a motion of expungement with the court in your state. This can be done via the mail or online depending on your state’s regulations and court filing systems. You will need to provide as much information as possible about your case, submit supporting documents where needed, and pay a filing fee. If you can’t afford the filing fee, your state may provide fee waivers so you can file for expungement without paying.
- Many states require a hearing after your motion for an expungement is filed. You will need to be prepared to present your case for expungement before a judge and ensure that you have any additional paperwork or supporting documents with you. If you have a strong case and the court agrees with you, they will grant the eviction expungement from your record.
- After your eviction expungement has been granted, you will be able to speak with the court clerk about when your eviction will be removed from public record. This may take a few weeks, and it’s important to check your public record regularly to ensure it does get removed. If you are having issues finding your public record or the eviction has not been removed after a significant period of time, you will likely need to reach back out to the court clerk for information.
- Obtain documents from your hearing that show your eviction has been expunged from your record and send them to tenant screening companies where applicable. It can take a few weeks for your public record to be updated and sending these documents directly to reporting agencies can immediately stop them from reporting information about your now-expunged eviction.
Legal assistance is recommended and may even be necessary to file a motion for eviction expungement in your state. If you cannot afford legal counsel, reach out to local law clinics or law schools that may provide free or discounted assistance.
How Long Does Eviction Expungement Take?
The length of eviction expungement varies based on your specific circumstances, how fast the courts process your request for expungement, and whether or not the correct paperwork is filed and fees paid without delay.
On average, the process ranges from a few weeks to a few months, and it may take another few weeks after the expungement is granted for it to be removed from public record.
What Is the Cost of Eviction Expungement?
The cost of eviction expungement ranges based on court fees and whether or not you need to consult a legal professional for assistance. In general, the cost of filing for an eviction expungement with the court ranges from $50 to $150, though fee waivers may be available in certain situations. Legal fees will add additional cost to these expungement filing fees.
Stay Informed of Your Public Record Information
When it comes to your public record information, it’s important to stay informed of the items listed on your record, such as any evictions.
By ensuring you know what landlords and other individuals might see when they access your record, you can prevent any unexpected surprises and ensure that you are prepared for questions about items on your record.
One of the best ways to look up the history of a property and any eviction tied to a property’s history is to use a reverse address search tool, like this one from Informaiton.com. This tool shows the history of a specific property, including ownership history and other public record information. Use it as a starting point to research your own record and ensure no evictions are listed.