Applying to become a rental property tenant may feel like putting your entire life on display. Landlords often require extensive information from applicants, but the process does have a purpose: property owners want to both protect their investment and their communities. That’s the reason why criminal background checks are typically a part of the process.
Evictions are the most common “red flag” that landlords look for, but there is confusion among both rental applicants and landlords regarding eviction reporting. Will a tenant’s eviction from a previous property show up on a criminal history report?
In almost every case, the answer is no. These reports only contain references to criminal matters, and evictions are typically civil matters. While a landlord may see past convictions on such a report, they will not see evictions. Note that this fact does not mean that all background checks for tenants omit evictions–only those that specifically check criminal background data.
Landlords often require applicant consent to a credit check as part of the vetting process. Evictions are more likely to appear in this report, particularly when a court orders an eviction and enforces a civil judgment to that effect. Per the FCRA, evictions remain on your credit report for no more than seven years, though some states have further reduced this period.
Landlords should know that credit reports are not a catch-all for evictions. Some landlords may file an eviction notice only to regain possession of the property from the tenant, never seeking restitution or back rent still owed by the former occupant. These evictions won’t show up on a credit report because they are not monetary judgments. A landlord would need to order background checks for tenants that focus on eviction filings instead of just judgments.
Judgment-inclusive reports use a tenant’s name and address to history to find record matches. They may include information on any or all of a tenant’s prior evictions if their previous landlords made the proper court filings. If you have ever been legally required to surrender a rental for breaking the terms of a lease or non-payment, these actions may appear on an eviction report.
If you want to better understand what landlords may see when they conduct background checks for tenants, explore your own records with backgroundchecks.com.