Getting evicted is certainly not ideal, but it happens. You probably feel like someone pulled out the rug from under you, and need some help with next steps. We’re here to help! But let’s make a few assumptions before jumping in. First, that your landlord is following the letter of the law. Second, that you have taken the proper steps to establish whether your eviction stands, and it does. So what should you do now?
I was Evicted. What Now?
Despite the circumstances that led to this event, you are getting evicted. And I think we can all agree that it really, really stinks. But now it’s time to accept the situation, make a plan, and move forward.
Find Somewhere to Stay
Whether you have a 14 or 30-day eviction notice, the sooner you get your affairs in order, the better. First thing’s first, you need to find a place to stay. Is staying with family or friends an option until you are back on your feet? If you are a low-income household, see what options your town or city have for low-income housing options. Get on the wait list!
Given the way your relationship with your landlord is ending, you may not be eligible to get your security deposit back. But, see if it’s a possibility. That money can help you secure shelter and start planning for what’s next.
Prepare for Future Renting Opportunities
Many times, a tenant is evicted due to a financial conflict. So, if you are falling behind on bills or struggling to manage too much debt, you might have some issues to work through. Try setting a budget and see if that helps you get back on track. If you don’t think you can manage debt on your own, it might be time to seek help from a reputable credit counseling agency, like American Consumer Credit Counseling.
Check your credit report at AnnualCreditReport to see if your eviction is listed, and how much damage it’s doing. Unfortunately, accurate information will remain on your credit report for up to seven years, so there’s no way to remove the mark. However, over time, and as you make efforts to “right” your financial situation, the eviction will count less and less towards your overall score. Try to settle debts with your former landlord. With any luck, there could be a positive note on your credit report that you are attempting to fix the situation.
Additionally, any unpaid bills associated with your eviction (including rent, utilities, legal fees, bills in collections, etc.) will have a negative impact on your score. Depending on the severity of damage to your credit, you may have difficulty renting a new place to stay.
Before renting to a potential tenant, landlords can pull your credit score to see whether the tenant is a good risk. Luckily, credit isn’t the only portion of an application that landlords consider. If your credit is damaged, seek other ways to boost your application and impress future landlords. References from employers or previous landlords that speak to your character can go a long way.
Moving Forward After Getting Evicted
Life happens, so take steps to identify the root of your financial problem and be prepared. Work on improving your credit score, paying bills on time, and creating an emergency fund to help you stay afloat in the event of an unexpected job loss or other disasters. All in all, take getting evicted as a learning experience and do your best to not let it happen in the future!
If you are looking for help with money management, call ACCC at 1800-769-3571 to speak with a certified counselor today.