Most tenants enter a lease agreement with the best intentions, fully planning to live out the lease agreement at the property, but things happen -- tenant's lose their jobs, face unexpected expenses or have a personal crisis. Sometimes, even the best tenants end up with an eviction on their records. Unfortunately, an eviction can have a lasting effect for several years.
A legal eviction happens when a landlord takes a tenant to court for breaking his lease and the judge decides in favor of the landlord. In Texas, a landlord can evict a tenant for breaking any term in the lease, such as not paying the rent. The landlord must place a notice to vacate on the tenant's door and file an eviction with a local court. If the court decides in favor of the landlord, the eviction against the tenant becomes a matter of public record. If a tenant breaks a lease and moves out of a rental property, but the landlord does not file for an eviction, the eviction generally does not appear in public records.
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If the landlord claimed any unpaid money in an eviction case and the judge decided in the landlord's favor, the amount owed can appear as a debt on the tenant's credit report. Experian reports that debts owed from an eviction will remain on the tenant's credit report for seven years. Some landlords also report a tenant's rental history to third party companies. These companies collect information on a tenant's payment behavior, including evictions.
If a judgment against a tenant appears on a tenant's credit report, it will lower her credit score. If the landlord reported the tenant's eviction to a third party reporting agency, future landlords may have access to that information. By breaking her lease, the tenant may have a difficult time qualifying for a new lease in the future. If the landlord does approve the tenant, he may charge her a higher security deposit or a higher monthly rental rate. A lowered credit score could also affect the tenant's ability to qualify for loans or credit cards.
A tenant with an eviction on his record may improve his chances of renting a new apartment by working directly with the new landlord. For example, the tenant could explain the circumstances surrounding the eviction and provide documentation showing he paid the previous landlord for any outstanding rent. Over time, the eviction will have less of an effect on the tenant's credit score, and the tenant may have an easier time qualifying for loans or credit cards.