Posted in Blog  
  on Feb 23, 2015

How To Check For Evictions

Part of the tenant screening process for any landlord must include an eviction search. Tenants that have past evictions may not be a true reflection of their potential value in a lease, but it does indicate that they are a high-risk tenant that may not be right for you. Eviction records are considered part of the open public record, so these red flags are pretty easy to spot. The easiest way to check for evictions is to have a credit check as part of the tenant screening process. Evictions are typically on a credit report and you'll also get to see a brief overview of a tenant's financial situation at the same time. You'll need written consent to receive this report, so don't just run the credit check because you could find yourself at risk for litigation, fines, or both if you do. Here are some other ways that you can check for evictions as well.

1. Obtain Information About Previous Residences.

During the tenant screening process, it is not uncommon to ask for up to 3-5 years of previous addresses. This gives you two pieces of good information: how stable the household structure is and information to contact a previous landlord. To speak with the landlord, however, you'll need written authorization that can be sent via email or fax to get the information that is needed.

2. Contact the County Court of a Previous Address.

If you don't get authorization to speak with a former landlord, then take advantage of the open public records. Check the eviction records for that county. If a tenant was ordered out of a residence, then a writ of possession will be on file for the property in question. Unless it is a rural county, there's a good chance that this information can be found online.

3. Look for Judgments on a Tenant's Records.

When you pull the credit file for a tenant, you may not see an eviction in place. What you may see in its place is a judgment from a lawsuit that was initiated by one of the previous landlords of that potential tenant instead. You may need to pull credit reports from all 3 major credit reporting agencies in the US to verify judgment records.

4. Request a Tenant Screening Report.

A number of professional agencies provide complete tenant screening reports based on the personal information an applicant provides you. In return for a service fee, which can often be charged to the applicant, the organization creating the report will obtain a criminal history, credit information, and a complete examination of any public records that will give you an idea of how risky a tenant may be.

5. Not Every Eviction is Something That a Landlord May Initiate.

There are some jurisdictions that allow law enforcement officials to initiate an eviction based on the arrest of a renter for a drug charge or other illegal activity. Landlords in this situation are generally given 30 days to evict the tenant on their own, but law enforcement will complete the eviction at the end of 30 days if the landlord has not done so.

6. It is Important to Remember That Not Every Eviction Attempt Winds Up in an Actual Court-Ordered Eviction.

When a landlord gives their tenant a notice to pay or quit, that means a tenant has the option to actually quit. That means they must move out of the rental property by a certain date. This action is considered to be an eviction, but it is not a court-ordered eviction. The same is true for tenants who might move out by a notice date for other lease violations, such as having a pet that is not allowed. This is why it is important to check all references and records and not just rely on public information or references only.

7. Evictions on a Credit Report Can be Disputed.

It is also important to realize as a potential landlord that credit-based eviction information may be placed there in error. A potential tenant may not have been evicted, but a previous landlord may not have stopped a court proceeding and received a default judgment because notice wasn't given as indicated. It's unlikely, but it does happen. If an application is in the process of disputing an inaccurate eviction report on their credit, then this should be combined with other screening information to render an empowered decision. Screening for a past eviction is an important part of any tenant application process. If you are not doing this already, then follow these steps to begin locate eviction information now so that you can limit your risks.


The Landlord Tenant Board: What it is and When it is Needed

Many times, there are issues between a landlord and a tenant that need to be resolved but are failed to do so, because both parties have gone too far with their actions, and have retaliated in the... More

How to Write an Eviction Notice

When it comes to a landlord wanting to evict their tenant, there are specific steps that need to be followed before the process of eviction can start. It is not anymore that the landlord can simply... More

How to Review a Rental Application

When it comes to reviewing a rental application, all of it may seem daunting; you will find it overwhelming because there is so much information that you yourself have to go through before the tenant... More

How to Create a Residential Lease Agreement

Where there is a landlord, there will also be a tenant, and it is no surprise that these two parties can only work together once there is some sort of agreement, contract or a binding deal in place.... More

The Best Sites for Rental and Lease Agreement Templates

Many landlords find it difficult to write and draft a lease agreement. Since every State has its own general template, it can also be difficult to make sure your lease agreement meets all the criteria... More

What is the Eviction Process for a Landlord

When it comes to evicting a rowdy tenant from your apartment, it can be a little overwhelming, because you know that there is legal recourse and you cannot just boot out your tenant. There is a... More

5 Landlord Forms that Every Landlord Should Have

When it comes to being a landlord, one should know that it is not for the unprepared individual. This should be clear that being a landlord does not simply mean that you will be taking the rent and... More

Landlord Obligations: The Responsibilities of a Landlord

Becoming a landlord is a major deal and no one can simply get up and think, “well, yes I think I should be a landlord and rent out my flat.” If you are thinking that you would like to be a landlord,... More

The Best Landlord Associations for Landlords to Join

If you’re a landlord and want to manage your business in a better way, you should endeavor to get in touch with those industry experts who have the experience and the skills to help you do it. This is... More

The Best Landlord Forums

Landlords and aspiring landlords, do not become as such, without guidance and advice. There is a lot that goes into being a landlord nowadays; in fact, there is so much to learn that it often confuses... More