How Do Landlords Check for Evictions? A Complete Guide

This guide offers landlords comprehensive insights on checking tenant evictions, including methods like public records and background checks. Enhanced by Azibo's services, it's a key tool for making informed rental decisions.

By
Gemma Smith
|
Last Updated
January 16, 2024
How Do Landlords Check for Evictions? A Complete Guide

In today's rental market, understanding a potential tenant's eviction history is more crucial than ever. With a noticeable increase in eviction filings in various U.S. cities, some areas are experiencing rises of over 50% compared to pre-pandemic levels, and causing landlords to face new challenges.

This guide discusses the significance of evictions and their impact on rental decisions. An eviction can reveal much about a tenant's past behavior and future reliability — we'll guide you through how to effectively check for evictions, using tools and strategies to make informed decisions.

With insights from Azibo's comprehensive tenant screening services, this guide aims to provide property owners with the necessary resources to navigate these challenging aspects of property management.

What is an eviction, and why does it matter to landlords?

An eviction is a legal process where landlords must remove tenants from their property, usually due to lease violations like unpaid rent or property damage. This aspect of property management is important, as it indicates a tenant's past behavior and impacts future reliability and financial stability.

When landlords screen for eviction history, they gain valuable insights into a prospective tenant's rental and criminal background, aiding their decision-making process.

How do landlords find out about evictions?

Now that we have discussed the importance of knowing a renter's eviction history, you may wonder how landlords check for evictions.

This process is a vital part of tenant screening and can be approached in several ways:

Public records

Eviction records are public records, typically found in local courthouses or online databases. Landlords can access these records to discover if a prospective tenant has an eviction history. This method requires time and effort, as landlords might need to search multiple jurisdictions.

Background check services

Many landlords turn to professional background check services. These services provide comprehensive reports that include landlord eviction history, credit checks, and criminal background information. Azibo offers tenant screening services, which streamline the process, saving time and ensuring thoroughness.

Credit report

While credit reports don't explicitly list evictions, they may show related credit information, like unpaid rent or debts to previous landlords, which can indicate an eviction. Landlords can use this information for their credit score and overall tenant screening.

Rental history report

Contacting previous landlords directly can provide insights into a tenant's rental history, including evictions. This method can offer firsthand accounts of the tenant's behavior and reliability.

Tenant screening questionnaires

Some property owners include direct questions about past evictions in their rental application forms. While this relies on the honesty of applicants, it can be a straightforward way to gather such information.

Each of these methods has its advantages and, when combined, can provide a comprehensive view of a tenant's eviction history, helping you make informed decisions about potential renters.

What's included in an eviction report?

Building on the previous examination of how landlords check for evictions, let's explore the components of an eviction report in more depth:

  • Detailed eviction instances: The report chronicles each instance of eviction, offering a timeline that helps landlords understand the frequency of such occurrences in a tenant's history.
  • Legal proceedings summary: This encapsulates the legal aspects of the eviction process, including filings and court judgments. This part of the report is vital for landlords to grasp each eviction's legal context and outcomes.
  • Financial liabilities: The report often details any financial issues related to the eviction, such as unpaid rent or charges for property damage. This information is critical for assessing a potential tenant's financial responsibility.
  • Tenant's legal responses: If available, the report might include the tenant's defense or reactions within the eviction proceedings, offering a more balanced view of the situation.

This more profound insight into the components of an eviction report is essential for property owners. It not only aids in evaluating a tenant's past housing-related conduct but also in predicting their future behavior as renters.

Can a tenant have an eviction removed from their record?

Under certain circumstances, a tenant can have an eviction removed from their record, but it depends on various factors and the laws in their specific jurisdiction. Here's how it might be possible:

  • Court judgment: If a tenant wins an appeal against an eviction in court, the court judgment can lead to the removal of the eviction from public records. This requires the tenant to legally challenge the eviction and prove it was unjustified or incorrect.
  • Settlement with the landlord: Sometimes, a tenant can negotiate with the landlord or property management company to have the eviction removed from their record. This might involve settling any unpaid rent or other financial liabilities related to the eviction.
  • Credit reports: While eviction records themselves might not appear on credit reports, related debts reported to credit bureaus can impact a tenant's credit score. If these debts are resolved or proven to be inaccurate, the tenant can request their removal from credit reports, improving their credit history.
  • Expungement: In some cases, tenants can seek expungement of their eviction record. This legal process typically involves filing a petition in court. Expungement policies and eligibility can vary widely depending on the location and specific circumstances of the eviction.
  • Time factor: Eviction records generally remain on public records for a set period of time, often up to seven years. After this period, the eviction may no longer appear on background checks, effectively removing it from the tenant's immediate rental history.

Should you rent to a tenant with an eviction history? 8 tips

Whether or not to rent to a tenant with an eviction history is a decision that requires careful consideration. Here are some strategies to help landlords navigate this situation:

  1. Evaluate the circumstances of the eviction: Understand the context and reasons behind the eviction. Was it a one-time incident due to extraordinary circumstances or part of a pattern of irresponsible behavior? Factors like economic downturns or personal crises can contribute to an otherwise responsible tenant facing eviction.
  2. Look at the timeframe: Consider how much time has passed since the eviction. A recent eviction might be more concerning than one several years ago, during which the tenant may have demonstrated stability and responsibility.
  3. Check for positive changes: Has the applicant taken steps to rectify their situation since the eviction? Look for evidence of improved financial stability, steady employment, or positive rental history post-eviction.
  4. Request additional security: If you decide to move forward, consider asking for a higher security deposit or a co-signer to mitigate potential risks. This provides an extra layer of financial protection.
  5. Open communication: Have an open discussion with the potential tenant about their eviction. This can provide insights into their current situation and future reliability.
  6. Regular monitoring: Once the tenant is renting, regular property inspections and consistent communication can help in monitoring the situation, ensuring the tenancy remains on favorable terms.
  7. Legal and regulatory compliance: Ensure that any decision regarding renting to someone with an eviction history complies with fair housing laws and local regulations.
  8. Professional advice: If uncertain, consider seeking advice from a legal professional or a property management expert.

Ultimately, renting a new apartment to someone with an eviction history can be a calculated risk. By applying these strategies, landlords and property managers can make more informed decisions that protect their property while offering a second chance to potentially responsible tenants.

Making informed tenant decisions: A practical example

To understand the role of evictions in tenant screening, let's take a look at some hypothetical scenarios:

Scenario for declining a tenant:

Imagine a potential tenant, John, applies for your rental property. During your tenant screening process, you discover he has a recent eviction history. Further investigation through eviction records and speaking with his previous landlord reveals that John has had multiple evictions for unpaid rent and property damage in the past three years.

His credit report shows several late payments and outstanding debts. In this scenario, the consistent pattern of financial irresponsibility and property mismanagement may lead you to decide not to rent to John, as the risk appears high.

Scenario for accepting a tenant:

Conversely, consider another applicant, Sarah, who also has an eviction on her record from five years ago. Upon checking her rental history reports and conducting background checks, you find the eviction was due to a temporary job loss. Since then, she has maintained a stable employment history.

Her recent rental history shows on-time rent payments, and her current landlord provides a positive reference. In this case, Sarah's previous eviction appears to be an isolated incident rather than a pattern, suggesting she could be a reliable tenant now.

It's important to remember that these scenarios illustrate how different factors can influence a landlord's decision regarding tenants with eviction histories. Every tenant application is unique and deserves careful consideration.

Remember, it's beneficial to stay informed and seek advice from property management professionals when faced with complex rental decisions. This approach protects your rental business and promotes fairness and responsibility in the property management community.

Azibo's tenant screening service

Azibo's tenant screening service offers landlords a comprehensive and streamlined solution for evaluating potential tenants. This service includes detailed background checks, credit reports, and a thorough review of eviction histories, ensuring landlords understand an applicant's rental and financial background.

Its user-friendly platform sets Azibo apart, which simplifies the tenant screening report and and the screening process, making it accessible and efficient for landlords of all experience levels. Using Azibo, landlords can make informed decisions, reduce the risk of problematic tenancies, and ultimately secure reliable and responsible property tenants.

This service is a time-saver and a crucial tool in mitigating the risks associated with property rentals.

The importance of thorough screening

From understanding the legal implications of an eviction to employing various strategies for screening tenants, this guide underscores the importance of thoroughness in tenant selection.

Utilizing methods such as checking public records, leveraging professional background check services like those offered by Azibo, and scrutinizing credit scores and rental history reports, landlords are equipped to make well-informed decisions.

Additionally, this guide highlights the significance of evaluating each eviction case on its merits, considering the time frame and any positive changes in the tenant's circumstances. With a balanced approach of open communication, regular monitoring, and adherence to legal compliance, landlords can navigate the often challenging decision of renting to tenants with an eviction history.

Above all, Azibo's tenant screening service emerges as a valuable resource, providing a user-friendly and efficient platform for landlords to comprehensively understand a potential tenant's history, thereby reducing the risks associated with property rentals. This guide is a crucial tool for landlords, ensuring they are well-prepared to safeguard their rental properties and that prospective tenants establish successful tenancies.

Where do landlords check for evictions? FAQs

Do credit checks show evictions?

Credit checks don't directly show evictions. However, they can reveal related information that may indicate an eviction. For instance, unpaid rent that has been reported to credit bureaus or debts owed to a previous landlord might appear on a credit report.

Landlords often use credit checks with other tenant screening reports to get a fuller picture of a potential tenant's financial and rental history.

Do evictions show on credit reports?

Evictions themselves do not appear on credit reports. However, if an eviction leads to a financial judgment, such as unpaid rent or a court-ordered payment, this could be listed on a credit report.

Additionally, any debts or collections related to an eviction reported by a landlord or collection agency may be reflected. Credit reports give landlords insights into tenants' financial responsibilities, an essential component of tenant screening.

Do landlords actually check references?

Yes, most landlords check references as part of their tenant screening process. This typically involves contacting previous landlords, employers, or other references provided by the prospective tenant.

These checks help landlords verify the tenant's rental history, on-time payments, and general reliability. Speaking with a current or previous landlord can provide valuable insights into a new tenant's behavior, such as whether they pay rent late or have had issues leading to eviction notices. It's vital for landlords to assess prospective tenants' potential, not just their past.

Gemma Smith

With 7 years in property management, Gemma serves as a key content strategist at Azibo.com. While excelling in writing, editing, and SEO, she also enhances Azibo's social media presence. Passionately, Gemma educates others to make informed real estate investment decisions in the ever-changing market.

A hand illustration holding a house with flowers coming out of the roofA logo spelling dont miss out, the rental rundown
Whether you're a property owner, renter, property manager, or real estate agent, gain valuable insights, advice, and updates by joining our blog newsletter.
Subscriber Identity
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
A green hill illustration with houses