Key takeaways

  • Evictions do not appear on your credit report, but they still have the potential to hurt your credit.
  • If a landlord sends your unpaid rent to collections, you could see a significant drop in your credit score.
  • The collections item could remain on your credit report for seven years, making it more difficult to apply for credit cards and loans. The eviction could remain in public records for the same amount of time, making it more difficult to rent your next home.

Landlords have filed for nearly 1.1 million evictions during the past 12 months in just the 10 states and 34 cities where the Eviction Lab tracks eviction court filings. While being legally forced from your home is certainly the immediate concern when facing eviction, you may also wonder whether being evicted will hurt your credit. There’s some good news there: The eviction order itself isn’t what hurts your credit directly. Still, there are potential credit consequences from the activities leading to your eviction.

What is eviction?

An eviction is when a landlord gets a court order to legally remove a tenant from a property. Evictions most often occur when a tenant has violated the terms of the lease, typically for failing to pay rent. However, tenants can be evicted for other reasons, such as not complying with community health and safety standards. Landlords can also evict tenants for having unauthorized subletters or pets. Unfortunately, unscrupulous landlords may also invent spurious reasons to evict tenants — which is why tenants have the right to fight evictions in court.

The Eviction Lab at Princeton University, which works to make eviction data publicly accessible, notes that many of the highest eviction filing rates are in southern coastal states, as well as the Washington D.C. metro area. Non-white households have significantly higher rates of eviction than predominantly white households, according to Eviction Lab, and women are evicted at a rate of 16 percent more than men.

What to do if you receive an eviction notice

When you receive an eviction notice, you are being informed that a legal process has been initiated. This can lead to the court issuing an eviction order. Some evictions are curable, meaning that there’s action you can take to fix the problem and remain in your home. For example, if you’re behind on your rent payments, you can catch up.

With an incurable eviction notice or “unconditional quit notice,” you have no choice but to vacate, according to It can usually only be issued after severe and repeated violations of your rental agreement or more than two months of failure to pay your rent. Even with this notice, you still have the right to appear in court and fight the eviction. The rules vary from state to state and even in certain cities, so it’s up to you to learn the laws of your community or contact an attorney who specializes in tenant law that can help you.

What happens if you get evicted?

As with most court proceedings, you are allowed to have an attorney when your case is heard. Not having a lawyer can put you at a severe disadvantage compared to the landlord. Fortunately, there are organizations that can help tenants facing an eviction fight in court, such as community legal services and legal clinics sponsored by your local bar association.

If you’ve had your day in court and lost, the judge will likely issue an eviction order forcing you to move out as soon as possible. If you don’t leave when ordered to, many jurisdictions allow the police to help enforce a judge’s eviction order. That’s why you should be looking for a short-term living arrangement when you’ve received an eviction notice and are awaiting a court date.

Does eviction show up on your credit report?

Fortunately, an eviction itself won’t appear on your credit report. However, if you’ve been evicted for non-payment of rent, then it’s likely that the landlord will hire a collections company to pursue your debt. It’s this debt that will appear on your credit report and hurt your credit score, not the eviction order itself. If you have a cosigner or guarantor on your lease, the debt will appear on their credit report as well.

Having a low credit score can affect you in many ways. It can make it harder to get loans of any kind — including credit cards, automobile loans and personal loans. When you do qualify for a loan, the rates and terms that you’ll receive won’t be as favorable as they would be for those with high credit scores. Having a low credit score could also make it more difficult to rent your next home.

An eviction order will also appear in public records, which could be discovered by future potential landlords. There are numerous tenant screening services that landlords use to find eviction records — and it goes without saying that many landlords are not interested in renting to tenants who have been previously evicted.

Even if you haven’t been evicted, it’s a good idea to keep on top of your rent payments. In addition to searching public records, landlords can request copies of your credit reports to determine whether you’ve ever fallen behind on your rent. The better your credit history looks on paper, the better you’ll look to your next landlord.

Potential ways to keep an eviction off your credit report

The best way to make sure that there isn’t a record of being evicted is to avoid the eviction altogether. If you’ve been issued an eviction notice, you may still have time to fix the problem before going to court. If the reason for the eviction is failure to pay rent, for example, catching up on rent payments could allow you to remain in your home, though the record of late payments will remain on your credit report if it’s already been reported. If you’re unable to pay what you owe, consider speaking to the landlord about possibly moving to a more affordable unit.

If there are other reasons for the eviction notice, such as an unauthorized pet, you may be able to address the issue yourself rather than going to court and risking an eviction order. If you have the option of working with the landlord to solve the problem that led to the eviction notice, that will be your best option.

How to remove an eviction from your record

If you’ve been wrongly evicted, you can pursue legal action in court.

If you are being evicted for a legitimate reason, such as missed rent payments, you may be able to have your eviction records removed from tenant-screening reports by negotiating with your landlord and offering to pay the entire amount due. That said, eviction orders can still show up in public records for as long as seven years — and while the eviction itself won’t appear on credit reports, it will continue to appear on background checks.

If you are being evicted and your past-due rent has gone to collections, you can settle your debt. Once your debt is settled or paid off, you might be able to pay the collections agency to remove the account from your credit report, but there aren’t a lot of regulations or guardrails on that practice, so approach it with caution. In most cases the collections item will remain on your credit report for seven years. Regardless, settling your outstanding debt is still the best way to keep your eviction from causing more damage to your credit history and credit score.

Eviction resources

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) lists many renter protection resources on its website, including what to do if you are worried about a current or future eviction. The National Center for State Courts maintains a map of local housing legal aid providers on its website. You may also want to consult or the Legal Services Corporation, especially if you believe you may be experiencing housing discrimination.

The bottom line

Having an eviction on your record won’t directly affect your credit, but having a collection item related to an eviction will appear on your credit reports and hurt your credit score. The best way to prevent this is to work with your landlord and avoid being evicted. Fortunately, there are many legal resources available to renters. By understanding what eviction is and how it affects your credit, you can do your best to make sure that it never happens to you or, if it does, you take steps to minimize the long-term impact on your financial situation.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about eviction and credit

  • There’s no way to know precisely how much your credit score will be hurt by a collections matter resulting in an eviction. The FICO credit scoring model treats payment history as the most important factor in your credit score, which means that a series of missed rent payments could cause significant damage to your credit, especially if you continue to miss payments after your debt is sent to collections.
  • Since evictions do not appear on your credit report, a credit repair company will not be able to remove an eviction from your credit. If a credit repair company advertises that it can remove evictions from your credit, it is a good sign that you are dealing with a scam credit repair service. Legitimate credit repair companies remove inaccurate information from your credit report and identify areas in which you can quickly improve your credit—and in many cases, you can do this credit-building work on your own.
  • If you’re looking for a place to rent again after being evicted, you have options. Look for a landlord who is willing to understand the circumstances that led to the eviction and give you another chance. Come prepared with references from employers, if possible — and if you have a good relationship with a previous landlord, ask for their reference as well. Consider asking a family member to co-sign on the apartment as additional proof of trustworthiness.

    Some landlords may advertise for tenants that have been previously evicted or offer to rent apartments without background checks. While these opportunities could help you rent your next home, keep in mind that the location and condition of these rentals may be less than optimal.

    If all else fails, you may want to look for a roommate or live with friends or family members while you rebuild your credit. For example, you could get a secured credit card or an unsecured  credit card for people with bad credit and continue to make on-time payments to other lenders. To ensure that future landlords understand your commitment to financial responsibility, use a rent reporting service to add current and future rent payments to your credit report.