A common question for tenants facing eviction is whether an eviction will show on a credit report. Tenants, understandably, are concerned about whether such cases will become a public record and be accessible by others.
According to the credit bureaus, the mere filing of an eviction case by a landlord will not, on its own, show on a tenant’s credit report. This makes sense: the mere filing of an eviction case does not mean that the tenant deserves to be evicted. If a tenant has a viable defense to an eviction case, the eviction will be unsuccessful.
However, if the landlord does succeed in an eviction case and the tenant owes the landlord money, the landlord can obtain a judgment for this owed amount. Such a judgment can be reported to the credit bureaus (the same as any owed debt). A landlord can also obtain a judgment if the tenant fails to show up to the scheduled court hearing; a landlord is permitted to obtain a default judgment, automatically giving the landlord possession of the property and the owed rent.
Although an eviction, on its own, may not show up in a credit report, evictions in Massachusetts are public record. Court records are available on masscourt.org and eviction cases can be searched a party’s full name. When an eviction is filed, it automatically becomes a public record and is accessible through this website. Several tenant screening services are said to search this website and create lists of filed eviction cases, to help landlords learn the rental history of a prospective tenant.
With this in mind, tenants need to be careful in resolving an eviction case with a landlord. If one of these cases is settled, the tenant should insist that an agreement for judgment or some similar paperwork be filed in the case to note that the matter was resolved amicably.
If you find yourself facing a landlord/tenant problem, contact me for a consultation.