Apartment evictions in 2014 were at their lowest level in five years, according to a new report from credit reporting agency TransUnion. The agency recorded 3.4 million evictions last year, down from 3.5 million in 2013.
Eviction proceedings vary by state, but generally a landlord needs legal cause for kicking someone out of a rental unit — like failing to pay rent or violating terms of the rental agreement — and the landlord must give the tenant notice of the problem and time to correct it before starting eviction proceedings. Research tenants’ rights in your state to better understand how eviction might affect you. Whether or not you’ll be evicted for missing a rent payment or two depends on where you live and whom you’re renting from. Because it can be costly to evict tenants, some landlords or property managers may be inclined to evict only as a last resort.
Evictions peaked at 3.9 million in 2011, according to TransUnion’s data. Records have declined steadily since then but are still a ways from where they were before the recession. In 2008, TransUnion recorded 2.6 million evictions, but by 2010, that figure had jumped to 3.4 million.
Receiving an eviction notice can cause huge problems for a consumer, beyond the more immediate problem of needing to find somewhere else to live. Evictions that are filed as judgments (meaning the landlord succeeds in suing you for breaking the lease or failing to pay rent) will show up on your credit report, and in some states, unpaid judgments can be reported indefinitely. A paid judgment can stay on your credit report for for up to seven years. If your unpaid rent is sent to a debt collector, that collection account will negatively affect your credit report, and even if nothing related to your eviction happens to be reported to a credit bureau, future landlords will likely find it when assessing you as a potential tenant. (You can get a free summary of your credit report on Credit.com to see where you stand.)
It’s good to see evictions declining in the U.S., but the fact that 3.4 million eviction records were filed last year shows it’s still a problem for many consumers, the effects of which they may feel for years.
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