If the debt has been sold off to a debt collections agency, you can pay off the debt by negotiating settlement or establishing a payment plan.
It is also possible to remove the associated derogatory statement in your credit report, as long as the removal is stipulated in the agreement.
Otherwise, it will remain in your report for 6 years and 9 months to be exact.
Unfortunately, any public record indicating your eviction decision will not be removed.
However, if the landlord has not assigned collection authority to a third party debt collector, it may be possible to request for the eviction record to be withdrawn.
This would typically require you to make full payment of the debt to the landlord, including any interest accrued, legal fees, and/or damages.
So long as the landlord is satisfied, paying off the debt in this fashion will result in your public record being free of the eviction decision.
Of course this hinges on whether your financial circumstances have improved to the point where you are able to pay the debt completely.
How does an eviction work?
Eviction is a court ordered removal of a tenant from a property in which they reside.
Depending on the state, the process of eviction may be quite lengthy.
Eviction may be caused by failure to pay rent, illegal activity on premises, illegal use of property, lease violations, or damage to property.
It is a matter of public record, but it is not reported directly to credit bureaus.
This means it will not be visible on a consumer credit report, but it will be recorded on rental history reports available to landlords and property managers.
Any past due rent and fees associated with the eviction process can be filed as a debt to be recovered from the tenant.
It is this collection amount that will show on the consumer credit report.
Why is eviction debt reported to the credit bureaus?
Eviction debt is just like any other debt, and provides an indication to would-be creditors that the individual, who was unable to service it, is likely to default on future loans too.
Credit worthiness is largely determined by past payment history.
Residence payments are considered a baseline determinant for ability and intention to pay.
If an individual fails to make timely payments on their residence, it is far more likely they will be less inclined to make payments on other debts.
How are evictions reported on your credit report?
After the eviction is finalized, the landlord will either assign the debt to a collection agency or sell the debt outright to a debt buyer.
Both circumstances result in collection activity being initiated against the tenant.
The amount owed may take several months to show on the credit report, but collection activity will normally begin ahead of reporting.
Will the landlord let me pay what I owe directly?
This will depend on many variables, and at what point in the eviction process this happens.
If a renter suddenly finds the means to pay the debt prior to physically abandoning the residence, it is best to contact the landlord directly.
If the eviction process is completed and collection activity has been initiated, the tenant should reach out to the landlord or property management to discuss possible options.
If that is uncomfortable, it may be worth having someone contact on behalf of the renter.
If the landlord has not turned the debt to collections, they will likely accept payment unless they are prevented due to a legal requirement in the eviction process.
Any agreement must be in writing, to ensure that supporting documentation exists for future reference.
What if the eviction debt is already in collections?
It is very important to contact the collection agency directly to determine the amount owed and a breakdown for rent and fees.
It is also important to ask if they have purchased the debt from the former landlord, or if they are collecting on behalf of the landlord.
If the debt is now owned by the collection agency, it is very important to make no agreement with the landlord/rental agency unless specifically approved by the collection agency in writing.
How do I pay the eviction fees already with the collection agency?
Any agreement reached with the collection agency should be confirmed in writing.
If the debt is settled prior to the collection agency reporting to the credit bureaus, it should be confirmed in writing that the debt will not be reported in future as part of the settlement agreement.
If the collection is already reported, it is best to negotiate a pay to delete as part of the settlement agreement.
In this way, the collection agency will delete the account from all three credit bureaus when the written payment agreement is fulfilled by the tenant.
What if I don’t have the money to pay?
It can be assumed that a tenant evicted for non-payment of rent does not have funds available to pay related collection costs.
It is also likely a stretch of time will pass until the debt can be paid.
Even years later, it is best to assess the situation objectively and deal with the collection agency directly when creating a repayment plan.
The other option is to wait for the collection to fall off the consumer credit report, which is 6 years 9 months from the date of last activity.
This is an extremely long wait and attempting to buy a car or rent an apartment during this time will prove very difficult.
A collection caused by an eviction will, more often than not, result in a decision for denial, along with an adverse action notice detailing the reasons.
It is never fun to clean up derogatory credit, but it is a worthwhile effort.
The result is emancipation from anxiety and embarrassment as the old debts and collections are eliminated, to be replaced by a sense of self-worth and pride in a difficult job well done.