Rental Application: How Many Years after an Eviction is a Landlord Still Allowed to Consider That Eviction?

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Rental Application: How Many Years after an Eviction is a Landlord Still Allowed to Consider That Eviction?

Staff Writer · Dec 10, 2010

Having a prior eviction on your rental application does not necessarily mean you will be denied an apartment lease. How long and its impact on your rental application will differ depending on the landlord. Below is an explanation of the ways in which a prior eviction could affect your future ability to rent a residence.

Commercial Properties Excluded

Rentals of commercial properties are very different than residential leases. Usually, an eviction from a commercial property will prevent a tenant from being able to rent another commercial property in the future. Exceptions might exist for situations in which the tenant was evicted through no fault of their own, such as when a property is being foreclosed upon and the tenant has proof of having made timely rental payments. In such a case the tenant would not have been truly evicted, and so the eviction would not appear on the business’s credit report.

The Eviction Process & Credit Reports

The eviction process is long and can take two forms: termination of the lease agreement or a legal eviction. In the former situation, the landlord and tenant agree to end their lease agreement and the tenant finds a new residence. This is not a true eviction and therefore would not be recorded on the tenant’s credit report.

A legal eviction involves court proceedings in which the court approves the landlord’s request to break the lease and remove the tenant from the property. Sometimes, the police could forcefully remove a tenant from a premise. This type of eviction is quite serious and will be reported on the tenant’s credit report. The eviction can remain on the tenant’s credit report for up to seven years.

The Impact of an Eviction

The impact of an eviction depends on the landlord’s response to it appearing on your credit report, not the state in which the residence is located. This is because credit reports are regulated by federal law and not individual states. Therefore, whether or not a prior eviction will impact your application for a new residence depends on how long ago it was and how forgiving the landlord is.

After seven years, the length of an individual’s credit report, the tenant can request that the eviction be removed from the report. If the eviction is still on the report and seven years have not passed, the tenant could potentially write a letter to include with his application explaining the circumstances of his eviction.

If the eviction was entirely the tenant’s fault, there is sometimes very little he can do to induce a landlord to accept his application. A landlord has the choice of whom to rent the premises to, and only violates the law in denying a tenant’s application when such denial was based on the applicant’s race, gender or religion. In all other situations, the landlord is within his rights to deny a tenant’s application should an eviction be on the applicant’s credit report.

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