An applicant who brings a prior eviction to the table is – as you would expect – looked at differently from the “bad credit consumer” or “convicted felon.” Despite having paid a few bills late or trespassed a few too many times, an eviction (to the contrary) says you have caused a previous landlord financial and emotional distress – it takes money and time to have someone forcible removed from a rental property.
Unfortunately, it’s rare to have an eviction record removed (or expunged). The best time to fight an eviction is at the time of the original court proceedings when you are given a chance to present your side of the story to the judge. Otherwise, you’ll need to do a really good job at convincing the court why you are entitled to have your record expunged.
So what can you do about an eviction record?
For one: If there was any money still owed to your previous landlord (usually in the form of a monetary judgment awarded by the court), you should consider paying it off – to at least have the record marked as “satisfied.” This effort will show that – despite the relationship going sour – you still had the voracity to make good on an outstanding bad debt. That, by itself, almost says enough to have the new landlord lean towards forgetting all about the previous eviction altogether.
If you are unable to afford to pay your outstanding obligation – or perhaps no money was ever owed as a part of the court’s ruling – then your best bet (again) is to be up front with the new landlord before he or she finds out about your past all on their own.
Remember: Your attitude and tone while communicating these explanations says as much as the words coming out of your mouth – if not more so!
Aside from the far greater tasks of performing your own extensive credit repair or an attorney assisted record cleansing, there is nothing better than the persuasive power of the truth. Landlords possess that same human quality that other human beings do – so, just like us, they usually know full well when they’re being treated with respect, as opposed to being played like a fiddle.
This strategy may not work 100% of the time – but it should prove successful the vast majority of the time. It’s all in the openness, honesty and reliability you present to your would-be landlord. Later chapters will discuss the importance of keeping these trustworthy values at full force to ensure you have the best possible tenancy. Sure, there will always be those difficult folks that want nothing more than to make your stay as unpleasant as possible – but most legitimate landlords truly welcome the prospect of this being a truly positive experience for both of you!