landlord looking over eviction check

Free Eviction Check for Landlords

Evictions are scary. First, of course, is the cost. Then, there’s the time and energy spent. One way to achieve peace of mind is to utilize a free eviction check to determine if a tenant you’re considering has been through the eviction process before with another landlord. 

If they have, that’s a good indicator to you, their new prospective landlord, that you may want to consider a different candidate. Of course, not all evictions are the same. Sometimes, tenants face uncontrollable circumstances that only temporarily impact their ability to pay rent. 

But before you can gather circumstances surrounding a past eviction, you’ll need to find a way to check eviction records for free. Then, if you come across an eviction, you can dive deeper into the details. However, before obtaining the eviction report, let’s first cover the basics.

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What is an eviction check?

An eviction check, or an eviction history check, is a report that landlords pull to find out if a prospective tenant has ever been evicted from a property; they generally go back seven years. It’s an essential facet of a tenant screening report that landlords complete to determine whether or not a tenant will be a good fit.

When landlords run these reports, either the landlord or the tenant supplies the tenant’s personal information to a tenant screening service, which runs the provided data against a database of eviction-related court proceedings. 

If the report finds nothing, that’s good news. That means there hasn’t been any history of an eviction for the tenant. It could also mean that the jurisdiction where you run your rental business doesn’t allow landlords to pull and/or consider eviction histories in the tenant screening phase. For example, TransUnion won’t return eviction-related records from Connecticut, New York, and Miami-Dade County.

If you’re in a jurisdiction that prohibits tenant screening services from returning eviction reports, check all the information you’re allowed to. Depending on your area, that could mean referencing an individual’s (where permitted) credit history, criminal record, income, and past landlords or employers. 

What’s included in an eviction report?

If, after you run a tenant screening report, you find that the would-be tenant you’ve has been evicted in the past, you’ll find the following information on the report. We filled it in to provide context. 

  • Name: John Doe
  • Court File Number: 0000000002
  • Record State: CO
  • Address 123 Sample St. 
  • Record Source: Larimer County District Court
  • Record Reported Date: 4/10/2019
  • Filing Date: 2/27/2019
  • Action Type: FORCIBLE ENTRY/DETAINER
  • Filing Type: FORCIBLE DETAINER
  • Plaintiff: Fort Collins Holdings, LLC
  • Court Reported Amount: N/A
  • Release Date: N/A
  • Internal Record ID: XXXXX-XXXXXXX

This record essentially tells the landlord what happened in court. The most important piece of information in the report is “Action Type.” If it reads Forcible Entry/Detainer, that means the tenant didn’t leave the property when instructed to do so. 

Let’s break down the legalese. “Forcible” just refers to the fact the tenant is/was unlawfully holding possession of a property, and “Detainer” refers to the act of a tenant keeping something that didn’t belong to them, i.e., a rental property. It’s the legal language a court uses when filing an eviction

If you see those terms, just know the court has filed an eviction against the tenant. Now, you have a few options. You can choose to go with another tenant who doesn’t have an eviction record, or you can ask some questions to gain further information. 

Questions You Can Ask the Tenant About a Past Eviction

As a landlord, you are responsible for abiding by Fair Housing laws, which means you cannot discriminate against protected classes. Protected classes include:

  • Race
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial Status
  • Disability
  • Additional protected classes include marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and others. 

Basically, we say this to make sure landlords know to stick to relevant information regarding the eviction. Ask questions like:

  1. When did the eviction occur?
  2. What are the circumstances that led to the eviction?
  3. Was the eviction related to non-payment of rent, lease violations, or other reasons?
  4. Was the eviction resolved, and if so, how?
  5. Do you have any outstanding debts related to past evictions?

Questions like these aim to gather relevant information about the applicant’s rental history and ability to fulfill their lease obligations while straying from discriminatory or intrusive areas. 

Compare those questions with the following for an idea of what not to ask. 

  1. Discriminatory Questions:
    1. Asking about the reasons for an eviction that indirectly targets protected characteristics such as race, religion, national origin, etc. 
  2. Invasive Questions:
    1. Probing into personal matters unrelated to the eviction, such as family status, medical history, or disability status.
  3. Unnecessary Details:
    1. Pressing for unnecessary details about the eviction that is not directly relevant to assessing the applicant’s rental history and ability to meet lease obligations. 
  4. Unlawful Inquiries:
    1. Asking about arrest records of convictions related to eviction, as this could potentially violate criminal history laws in some jurisdictions. 

The key takeaway is that you need to ask questions directly related to the eviction and the facts surrounding it. And if you’re early on in the process, make sure that if you ask eviction questions prior to screening, ask every single tenant to avoid discrimination. 

Now that you know what to ask let’s see how you can acquire an eviction check for free.

How To Get a Free Eviction Check

The easiest and best way to get an eviction check is to run a thorough background check for tenants using TurboTenant’s tenant screening feature. 

TurboTenant makes tenant screening processes easier than ever by allowing prospective tenants to fill in their personal information themselves. All you need to do is enter the renter’s name and email, and you can invite them to fill out the rest. 

The best part? It’s completely free for landlords because the applicant pays the screening fee. Once our partner, TransUnion, compiles the report, you’ll get a high-definition view of the renter with details that include (where allowed) the following:

  • Credit score: Verifies that tenants meet your criteria
  • Lines of credit: Ensures your renter isn’t over-extended
  • Credit inquiries: Provides insights into new loans or bankruptcies
  • Debt in collections: Delivers visibility into late payments in their rental history
  • Criminal records: Offers peace of mind by checking over 300 million records for criminal activity
  • Past evictions: Satisfies fears of evictions by checking over 27 million records across the U.S. to see if a renter has been evicted in the past

Screening reports often leave out criminal histories or eviction checks, but our report checks all the boxes so landlords get the best chance to rent to tenants who fulfill their obligations as outlined in the lease agreement. 

Get Even More for Free with TurboTenant

A free eviction check for landlords is just the tip of the iceberg. When you sign up for a free TurboTenant account, you get access to features that’ll make managing your rental properties a cinch.

TurboTenant’s free tier includes access to:

Plus, you’ll never have to input a credit card or fiddle around with the product on a limited-time trial basis. Try TurboTenant today!

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