Estimates say there are about 1 million evictions each year in the US. Many people have a poor rental history, so you want to be careful when you review rental applications.
If you’re a landlord, you know the importance of tenant screenings to find the right person to rent your property. Here’s some information on rental history and how to remove evictions from tenant screenings.
There are several ways to discover if a tenant has a history of evictions. If they owed money, it will appear on their credit report if the landlord took it to a collection agent.
You can call their previous landlord for a reference. Always check with several previous landlords as their current one may be happy to see them go. In some states, you can pull an eviction report depending on the laws in place.
Finding a Screening Service
If you’re a high-volume property manager, you understand the value of a simple process to screen your tenants. A tenant screening service allows you to run background checks on a potential tenant. Look for an online tenant screening platform that’s easy to use and gives you real-time results.
When evaluating an online screening service, test the dashboard to see how easy it is to add documents, co-applicants, and other relevant information. You want your service to provide information you can use to evaluate a tenant application.
Tenant screening reports are consumer reports. When you use a consumer report to decide on a potential tenant, you must follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Review your local state laws and federal laws on consumer reports to ensure you’re following eviction laws.
If you deny a rental, require someone to get a co-signor, ask them to pay a larger deposit, or pay higher rent than you would typically charge, that’s considered an adverse action.
When you take an adverse action, always notify the tenant in writing. It’s a way to let them know what is in their reports and how the information impacts them.
How to Remove Evictions From Tenant Screenings
If you’re a tenant with a poor rental history, you might ask how to remove an eviction from your record. If you’re determined, there are three main ways to remove it.
Wait It Out
An eviction stays on the public record for seven years. After that, it may still appear, even though the time limit has passed. You may need to take additional steps to have your record cleared. These steps include taking the case to court or working on a settlement agreement.
Prove Wrongful Eviction
Tenants have rights, and you may feel you’ve been wrongfully evicted. An attorney specializing in local landlord-tenant laws can help. If you can show that your landlord didn’t follow the proper procedures during the eviction, they may advise that you take the matter to court.
You may be able to prove wrongful eviction if you can prove that you didn’t violate your lease. In that case, a court may decide to remove the eviction from your record.
Form a Settlement Agreement
If the eviction was valid and you want to make amends, you may be able to have the notice removed from your public record. There are several steps you can take to give you the best chance of reaching a settlement agreement.
1. Pay Your Debt
If the reason for your eviction was non-payment of rent, you might be able to negotiate with your previous landlord. They may accept a payment of the amount you owed them in exchange for removing the eviction from your record.
They may be willing to settle for a lower amount in some cases. Be sure to get an agreement in writing before you pay the settlement.
2. Call Off the Collection Agent
Most outstanding debts end up with a collection agency, and the record will still exist with the credit bureau they remove it. Take your settlement agreement to the agent and prove that you’ve cleared the debt. This proof should be enough to clear the collection record.
3. Request Removal of the Notice
Ask the property manager to remove the eviction notice from tenant screening reports. This should be a part of the negotiated settlement, but you may need to follow up to have your record cleared.
4. Dispute The Eviction Notice
As a last resort, after you’ve done everything you can to clear your name, you can file a formal dispute. Raise the dispute with tenant-screening companies and the credit bureau. Once you’ve provided proof of settlement, they should clear your record.
Applicants With an Eviction Record
What do you do when you discover an eviction notice on a tenant screening report? There may be situations where you might consider renting to a tenant with a past eviction.
Ensure you aren’t renting to problem renters by taking some additional screening steps. Some of these steps may be adverse actions that require written notice to the tenant.
Ask for an Explanation
When the reason for the eviction wasn’t non-payment of rent, there may be personal factors at play. Ask how they resolved the problem and what steps they are taking to ensure that the same thing won’t happen again.
Check Their Credit Rating
Someone with a good credit score may be a good tenant. If they have a great job and a stable employment history you may decide to accept them.
Require a Guarantor
One option is to ask them to have a reliable person guarantee the rent. They would sign a document making them financially responsible if the tenant doesn’t pay the rent.
Another option is to have the applicant’s roommate co-sign the lease agreement. In either situation, be sure to run the screening process on the second person.
Ask for a Larger Deposit
You may be able to ask for a larger deposit upfront to cover potential future damages. Be sure to check that a larger deposit doesn’t violate your local landlord-tenant laws before you take this step.
Obtain Additional References
Ask for personal references from reliable members of society. The applicant’s employer might be someone you can rely on if the applicant has worked there for a long time.
You could ask for a credit reference from a business they use regularly. They can assure you that the applicant is trustworthy and is able to make regular on-time payments.
In most cases, a property manager has to follow company policies. They may have restrictions on renting to someone with a past history of evictions. Private landlords can make a judgment call in these situations.
Tenant Screening: An Essential Service
If you weren’t convinced before, we hope you are now. A tenant screening service is a no-brainer, especially when you know it’s possible for a person to remove evictions from tenant screenings.
You need the support of a professional screening service to ensure your tenants are trustworthy. Contact Rent Safe today to discuss your tenant screening needs.