How to Rent After Being Evicted: Tips + Tricks
Are you dealing with an eviction on your rental history and struggling to find an apartment? Unfortunately, landlords are wary of renting to tenants with eviction histories, though it is possible to recover. Here's how to navigate the process and options available to renters.
What is the Eviction Moratorium?
Many renters in 2021 are facing evictions after the Eviction Moratorium lapsed. Renters suffering from the financial impact of COVID were granted a temporary reprieve from evictions. The Eviction Moratorium went into effect in March 2020, prohibiting landlords from removing tenants from rental properties who couldn’t pay rent.
This rent still accumulated for future payback, though many late fees and penalties were waived. Renters can check the moratorium rules in your state to find out what you owe.
When Will the Eviction Moratorium End?
The federal Eviction Moratorium was extended several times throughout 2020 and 2021, even though it was set to end on January 1, 2021. Eventually, the American Rescue bill was passed and signed into law and included funding for emergency rent relief. The Memoriam was extended several times and eventually ended on August 26, 2021.
How to Rent an Apartment After Being Evicted
Going through an eviction can feel overwhelming, but you can still find an apartment. You'll need to come prepared and exercise some patience to find the right place for you.
Pay off debts
Evictions don't usually show up on your credit report, but it might appear as a delinquent financial activity if a collection agency was involved. Landlords also hire screening companies to perform background checks and compile rental history reports on tenants. An eviction shows up on such reports and can deter landlords from renting to you.
If fees related to an eviction appear on your credit report, you have some recourse. Work to pay off your debt or discuss a payment plan with your landlord. Once the debt is cleaned up, your landlord may be open to removing the eviction from your credit report and submitting a letter of intent to drop the eviction.
You should still work to clean up your debt, even if your eviction doesn't appear on your credit report. Doing so shows landlords and property managers that you're serious about your responsibilities and restoring your financial health.
References are essential if you're trying to rent an apartment after being evicted. Landlords are more likely to forgive an eviction during COVID, especially if you're currently employed and cleared your debt.
Collecting references from past landlords, property managers, and colleagues is an excellent place to start. However, not all apartment references are created equally. Friends, parents, and acquaintances are poor references for landlords.
The goal is to find as many quality references as possible. The more glowing reviews you have about your character, the more likely a landlord is to extend a lease.
Sign a lease with someone else
Renting with bad credit or an eviction isn't the only time it's challenging to find a place. Having no credit or being a first-time renter is also tricky. In both situations, renters can sign a lease with someone else to persuade a landlord to extend a lease.
Living with a roommate can show a landlord there is more financial stability in the lease. Landlords often feel more comfortable if you and your roommate earn significantly more than the lease and can easily cover your bills.
A lease guarantor is also an option to rent an apartment after an eviction. The guarantor is legally responsible for paying the rent if the tenant can't meet the financial obligation.
The lease guarantor's obligation is significant, requiring you to ask the right person to help you. A family member is usually the best place to start, but make sure everyone is on the same page. Your lease guarantor needs to earn enough and be prepared to step in and cover your rent if necessary.
Many landlords and property managers use the term lease guarantor and cosigner interchangeably. However, a cosigner is technically considered a renter and is listed on the lease with you. Clarify what the landlord or property manager expects and make sure the lease language and terms are clear.
Pay a larger security deposit
If you pay a larger security deposit, landlords may be swayed to rent out an apartment after an eviction. A security deposit is a sum of money a renter pays to a landlord before moving in. The security deposit covers any damage to the apartment and your rent if you fail to pay. Renters get back their security deposit provided the apartment is in good shape when they move out and are currently on their rent.
Your landlord may be open to taking a larger security deposit if you've had an eviction on your record. The offer shows your landlord that you're serious about paying your rent and keeping your apartment.
Find eviction-friendly apartments
Finding eviction-friendly apartments with landlords who don't run credit checks or ask about your detailed rental history is possible. However, there are risks involved.
Landlords and property managers almost always run credit checks to make sure they're signing with reliable renters. Quality apartment complexes also have plenty of renters eager to sign a lease. If a landlord isn't running a credit check, it could be a sign you're entering into a no-credit-check rental scam.
Of course, smaller complexes or single units in less-popular cities or neighborhoods are more likely to waive a credit check. A short-term or month-to-month apartment may also waive a credit check if you can prove you can offer the funds. It's important to know that month-to-month apartments are usually expensive.
Short-term apartments can be an effective way to rebuild your tenant history. Once you've established you're a reliable renter and have a stable income with a healthy savings account, it's more likely a landlord will extend a lease for a long-term apartment.
Honesty can go a long way when trying to rent an apartment after being evicted. Let the new landlord know what happened that led to the eviction and how your financial stability has improved.
Avoid sounding desperate when making your case, and instead, focus on the facts. A landlord might be more understanding if you were evicted because you were laid-off after the Eviction Moratorium ended through no fault of your own. Enduring sky-high medical bills due to an accident or going through a divorce are also reasons a landlord may rethink your financial situation.
Before you make your case with a landlord or property manager, come prepared. Bring your previous rental history before the eviction, the paperwork from your employer if you were laid off, bank records, and everything that can position your reliability as a renter in a positive light.
How Long Does an Eviction Stay on Your Record?
If you have fees and collection agency activity related to your eviction, it will show up on your credit report. It takes seven years for the activity to disappear from your report.
There are also tenant screening companies that perform background checks and put together rental history reports. These companies usually find your eviction in public court records. After seven years, evictions are removed from public records and your tenant rental history.
How to Get an Eviction Removed from Your Record
It's not always easy, but getting an eviction removed from your rental history is possible. You'll need to petition the court to have the eviction removed. However, the court will only remove it if you're disputing an inaccurately reported eviction. If you were wrongly evicted, it's also possible to petition the court to win your case and ask for it to be reversed.
You can also petition that an eviction be removed from the reporting company if you've repaid the landlord.
An eviction is never easy to deal with but isn't the end of the world. You can still rent an apartment after being evicted and rebuild your tenant history.