Those who have been negatively impacted by an eviction often look for their best options to deal with the fallout from this event, including any negative effects on a credit score. The process for disputing an eviction can be a complex one. Here are some of the general systems a renter has to deal with after an eviction becomes a matter of public record.
Your Credit Report: Disputing Items with a Credit Bureau
Three national credit reporting agencies have jurisdiction over the credit reports of all American individuals. A local credit bureau will provide a comprehensive credit report. Those who see false information on a credit report will most likely deal with the consumer reporting company that supplied that information.
According to federal resources from the Federal Trade Commission, consumer reporting companies who are contacted by consumers disputing items on a report need to act within 30 days to investigate the complaint. In many cases, consumers will also have to contact the collection agency or other party that attempted to collect a debt in order to force that party to prove the validity of a judgment, or allow it to be wiped from the credit report.
The Federal Trade Commission encourages consumers to send a letter of formal dispute to the consumer reporting company, along with copies (not originals) of contested documents. These individuals can look for results within the 30 day period. If the investigation results in a change, the credit reporting agency or company may have to send corrected credit reports to any parties who have requested it in a specific time period. All of this is governed by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Disputing an Eviction with a Tenant Screening Company
The trouble with the above is that an actual eviction often does not show up on a credit report, but on a separate tenant screening report. Tenant screening reports are provided by a wide variety of companies. If they misreport an eviction to a landlord and the tenant gets turned down for a rental application, it is a serious offense, since tenant screening services are often working from their own databases based on public records. The first thing a tenant needs to do is to find out what company misreported an eviction. The tenant screening companies are also subject to similar reporting rules under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Many consumer advocates suggest that since tenant screening companies are working directly from public record, when a family or individual is contesting a tenant screening report, it’s a good idea to retain a tenant rights lawyer while disputing the report, and to pursue legal action against the company for incorrectly reporting negative information that can affect loans and rental applications.
The above shows how complicated an eviction dispute can be. The proliferation of credit and tenant reporting companies and third party services has resulted in some confusing situations for tenants who feel reports of an eviction are incorrect. Doing in depth research on your own credit and housing reports is a primary way to avoid the negative effects of bad data on your record.