If you have a past eviction, you might be worried that it shows up on your credit report. The good news is that there’s no section on a credit report titled “Evictions,” and in fact, there is no credit reporting agency that will put your specific eviction in your credit report.
The bad news, however, is that a future creditor, landlord, or employer can still tell you have one, due to other clues in your credit report—or through related types of screening.
How Creditors Recognize Evictions
Even though there is no blinking neon sign in your credit report announcing that you’ve been evicted from a property, there are a number of factors that can expose your past to anyone who’s paying attention and knows what to look for.
If you’ve been evicted, it’s usually a safe bet that you’ve lost any security deposit you may have put down. The biggest reasons for eviction are non-payment of rent, excessive damages or complaints, and in any of these cases, you probably also owe a significant amount of money to your landlord.
If they were unable to collect it themselves, they may have sent it to a collection agency to handle. If they have, the balance will show up on your credit report as a collection and may even show the name of the landlord, apartment complex, or property management company that held the original debt.
If you’ve had a civil judgment against you for non-payment of rent, that is public record and will show on your credit report as well. The party that got the judgment against you will also be listed, as well as the amount you owed at the time of the judgment.
Outside of a landlord credit check, there are related searches that are often performed that could show an eviction you have had in your past. The credit reporting agency in that case wouldn’t be the entity where your new rental agency gets the information, but it could be part of the total background package they pay for on you when you submit a rental application.
What Does the Law Say About Reporting Evictions?
Each state has specific laws governing how landlords can evict tenants and what recourses you have in that situation. Any landlord, however, can submit information to your credit report if they have registered as a client and report to the credit bureaus that you owe them money.
>> Read More: What Affects Your Credit?
They have to submit proof of what you owe, but if they have it, they can register as a creditor and submit your debt for assessment and placement on your credit report.
While it’s true that landlords cannot technically submit the eviction itself to your credit report, you can rest assured that if you have an eviction on your history, your next background check will dig it up.
>> Read More: How to Clean Up Your Credit Report
What you can do to protect yourself is ensure that any money you owe to your previous landlord has been paid. It’s not as good as simply not getting evicted, but it’ll definitely help your case if you can say that yes, you made a mistake, but you’ve taken care of it and look forward to doing things right the next time.