How long can information, like eviction actions and lawsuits, stay on my tenant screening record?
There are federal limitations on how long information can be on your consumer reports, including your tenant screening report. Some states have additional limits.
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act limits how long negative information like lawsuits or judgments can be reported. Generally, information about a lawsuit or a judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer. Bankruptcies can stay on your report for up to ten years. There is no time limit for criminal convictions.
Eviction court cases could be on your tenant screening record for up to seven years. Many landlords will not rent to a tenant applicant if the screening report shows an eviction filing. And if you owed a debt or a money judgment to a landlord that you later discharged in a bankruptcy, that information could stay on your tenant screening history for ten years.
Some states have imposed limits or other protections on tenant records. For example:
- Your state may allow the “sealing” or “expungement” of certain court records, including eviction lawsuits and criminal history. You may have to take steps to seal or expunge these records.
- Some states prohibit the use of eviction lawsuit information. This means that the information in these court records should not be used to make a rental determination about you.
- For more information about your state laws, you can check with your state court , your state attorney general , your legal aid office , or a lawyer. If you are a servicemember, you can also contact your local Legal Assistance Office.
What to do if there is outdated or inaccurate information on your tenant screening report
There are several steps you can take:
- Dispute the information with the company that generated the report as well as with the person or company that provided (furnished) the information. Learn how to dispute an error on these reports.
- Contact a lawyer. If your rights have been violated under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or a state law, you may have a right to bring a lawsuit. You should do so as soon as possible as there will be applicable statutes of limitation or deadlines for bringing a lawsuit.
- If you have a problem with credit or consumer reporting, such as tenant screening, you can submit a complaint with the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372). You may also be able make a complaint to your state consumer protection office .