Eviction is a process that no renter wants to face, let alone have on his record. An eviction on your record does not immediately condemn you to being unable to rent an apartment, as much depends on how far along in the eviction process you were, how the eviction is reported and how long ago it occurred.
A recent eviction, within the past year, can make a landlord more cautious about renting to you than an eviction that happened farther back. After seven years the eviction judgment is removed from your credit report, although it will still show up on a background check due to public records. The time frame that an eviction affects you can vary from landlord to landlord. Some landlords will always say no to a tenant with an eviction, while others are more sympathetic.
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Another eviction factor to consider is whether your lease agreement was terminated or if you went through the entire eviction process. If you left your previous apartment when you received the first written notice from your landlord, you will not have a judgment on your credit report. This notice is required in almost all states and not typically filed through the court system so the lease termination is not in the public record either. If you did go to court for the eviction or had a default judgment against you it shows up in public records and your credit report.
Not all landlords use background or credit checks. Some private landlords that have only a few properties may only ask for income or employment verification prior to renting out the apartment. Other landlords may accept tenants with prior evictions but ask for a larger security deposit, additional months of rent upfront or start you out on a month-to-month lease. Using positive references from other landlords may also convince your prospective landlord to overlook your prior eviction.
You are not immediately black-listed from every landlord in the country, or even in your state, when you are evicted. Landlords generally use information from background check services and credit reports in addition to other application information to determine whether you can rent an apartment. You are not barred from explaining mitigating circumstances to the rental agent if your eviction occurred due to an event beyond your control. If the rest of your application checks out, your explanation may influence the landlord into giving you a try.
While you can't go back in time to prevent your initial eviction, you can increase your chances of getting another rental property after eviction. If you have a money judgment against you from the original eviction, pay off the full amount to show your prospective landlords you take care of your financial responsibilities. Finally, keep your other debts down as much as possible.
Some landlords offer "second-chance" leases geared towards tenants who have gone through bankruptcy, eviction or both. This type of lease agreement can have a higher rental payment, security deposit and pre-paid rent requirements to offset the risk the landlord is taking. If the landlord does not normally offer a lease agreement like this, attempt to negotiate with him to see how much he needs upfront to rent to you. Another option is to get a co-signer for the apartment with a high credit score. The landlord may be more comfortable renting to you if he knows that he has the opportunity to collect any defaults from someone with a strong financial standing.
Personal and business references from friends and employers can also help convince your landlord that you are able to meet your financial obligations. Providing proof of income and savings to the landlord lets him know that you can meet future financial obligations.