How to Get an Eviction Off Your Record

May 25th 2024
Having an eviction on your record can prevent you from getting an apartment. To get it removed, it's advised to file a Motion of Expungement which typically costs $50 to $100. If you are planning on hiring a lawyer, the costs may range from $1,000 to $3,000.

Having an eviction expunged is the best way to get an eviction off your record. When an eviction is expunged, it means future landlords cannot see the eviction on your rental history, and a rental applicant can select “no” when answering whether or not they’ve ever been evicted. Here are eight steps for getting an eviction removed from your record. 

hash-mark8 Steps to Getting an Eviction Removed

  1. Check Your State Laws
  2. Win Your Eviction Case
  3. Review Your Eviction Paperwork
  4. Determine Your Expungement Type
  5. File Your Motion of Expungement
  6. Attend the Hearing
  7. Check the Court Record
  8. Send Copies to Tenant Screening Companies

1. Check Your State Laws

The first step to getting an eviction off your record is to check the laws regarding expungement in your state. Every state has its own set of rules when filing for expungement, so check with local laws to ensure you can get the eviction removed. 

Who Can Receive an Expungement?

Courts won’t hand out an expungement to just anyone. Typically, they are reserved for those who can prove one of the following: 

  • An eviction case was won in favor of the tenant.
  • An eviction was the result of landlord retaliation or a holdover situation. 
  • Lease terms were not violated.
  • A landlord did not follow proper state eviction procedures.
  • The landlord’s property was in foreclosure at the time of the eviction.
  • The eviction notice was posted after the tenant had already moved out.
  • The expungement is clearly in the “interest of justice.”
  • There is a written agreement to the expungement from the previous landlord. This is sometimes referred to as a “satisfaction of judgment.” 

What is “Interest of Justice”?

These are situations where the potential benefit of removing an eviction dramatically outweighs the potential harm to the public. In a case where there is an interest of justice, a judge will look at the following information:

  • If the eviction was the result of circumstances beyond the control of the tenant
  • Whether those extenuating circumstances warrant an expungement
  • The amount of time between the eviction and the motion to expunge

Based on these three items, a judge will determine whether there are reasonable grounds for expungement. 

2. Win Your Eviction Case

An eviction is most likely to be expunged if the case is won in the tenant’s favor. This act proves that the landlord’s lawsuit was sufficiently without basis in fact or law, which is considered reasonable grounds for having the eviction removed from public view. 

3. Review Your Eviction Paperwork

If the case is won in your landlord’s favor, then it’s essential to review all paperwork associated with the case. This includes the previous lease, eviction notice, Dispossessory Affidavit, and the final judgment. What you’re looking for here is any additional grounds for having the eviction expunged. This can include significant issues with your landlord’s argument, such as references to incorrect facts or laws.

4. Determine Your Expungement Type

There are three types of expungement to remove an eviction from your record: inherent authority, statutory, and mandatory. Inherent authority happens when a court decides that a tenant’s expungement is more important than any future landlord’s knowledge of the case. Statutory involves an expungement where a landlord’s case was either significantly flawed, the product of retaliation, or had little legal basis. Finally, mandatory expungements only occur when the court is forced to remove a tenant’s eviction because a landlord’s property was in foreclosure before the eviction was filed. 

It is typically best to request an Inherent Authority Expungement. However, if you could find significant issues with the landlord’s case, you can request a Statutory Expungement instead. Remember, a Mandatory Expungement should only be requested if an eviction occurred after a home was already in foreclosure or the deed was contracted for cancellation.

5. File Your Motion of Expungement

Some states allow you to file your expungement form through the mail or by e-filing online. However, it is often best practice to hand-deliver this document yourself to your local Magistrate Court clerk. Along with this form, give as much information as possible about your situation and why you deserve expungement. A fee will be associated with this paperwork; however, some states have additional forms available so that you can waive it.

6. Attend the Hearing

Some states don’t require a hearing. However, for those that do, you’ll need to come prepared with a well-documented argument and any additional paperwork required by your state. If the case is strong enough, the court will likely agree to remove the eviction from your record.

7. Check the Court Record

Once an expungement has been granted, the court clerk should be able to tell you when the eviction will be removed from public view. Be sure to consistently check your public record to ensure the eviction has been removed. 

8. Send Copies to Tenant Screening Companies

Tenant screening companies are not allowed to report an eviction once they know it has been expunged. So after you’ve received your expungement, send copies of the document to your local tenant screening agencies so that they know to immediately stop reporting it.

hash-markHow Long Does it Take to Get an Eviction Expunged?

There is no set time frame for an eviction expungement. Instead, it will primarily depend on how quickly the correct paperwork is completed and filed, fees are paid, and the court is able to review the case. Additionally, it may take a few weeks for an eviction to be officially removed from your record after the expungement has been granted.

If you are in need of a place to stay and don’t have time to go through the lengthy process of getting an eviction off your record, check out how to rent with an eviction on your record.

hash-markHow Much Does it Cost to Get an Eviction Expunged?

It typically costs between $50 and $3,000 to get an eviction expunged depending on if you get it removed yourself or hire a lawyer. If you handle it yourself, the only fees you will pay to get the eviction expunged are the court fees related to filing a Motion of Expungement, which are usually between $50 to $100, depending on your state. However, additional forms are often available to waive these costs if you can show financial hardship. 

If you hire a lawyer to get your eviction expunged you should expect to pay between $1,000 to $3,000 in attorney fees. 

hash-markIf You Pay Off an Eviction Does It Come Off Your Record?

No, an eviction does not fall off your record if you pay it off. Evictions will typically show up for seven years after they are filed, even if you pay them off. To remove an eviction from your record you will need to go to court to have it expunged. However, you first need to ensure you meet the requirements for expungement. 

hash-markHow to Get an Eviction Off Your Record Bottom Line

To get an eviction off your record, you should file a Motion of Expungement. The whole process will cost you some money, especially if you are considering hiring an attorney. If there’s a chance that yours may have been wrongfully committed, or if you can prove it was the result of excessive hardship, attempting to obtain an expungement is usually worth the effort as it will make apartment hunting much easier. Otherwise, an eviction will stay on your record for 7 to 10 years, during which time landlords may be reluctant to rent to you.