The eviction process can be challenging and difficult, as well as very upsetting. From the moment you get the eviction notice to the last moment you see your former landlord, it can be stressful. And even once you are no longer in the property, there are still problems that can chase you, such as the eviction debt and the risks of a collection agency coming to request repayment on any debts.
This can be a stressful time, but it is possible to work through this and deal with the financial issues that follow. It will be difficult, but hopefully, this guide can help you find a starting place from which to get your finances back in shape, and your eviction record, and the money owed for it, paid off.
What is eviction debt?
Eviction debt includes all the debts and fines incurred when you get evicted from a rental property by a private landlord or by property management companies. This can include unpaid rent payments, late fees, court costs, and more. The total balance of the debt can be quite a staggering amount, so it is important to have a plan to figure out how to pay off eviction debt. Unfortunately, it is especially hard for low-income families to pay rent late payments, and eviction debt, but there are some ways that you can work towards paying it off.
What about my security deposit?
In theory a security deposit can be used to cover the costs that a tenant leaves the landlord with. The landlord takes the deposit to cover any property damage or missed rent payments. However, in some cases, particularly if you have multiple missed rent payments, you might find that the deposit is not enough to cover the eviction debt. This means that the property owner or landlord would have to chase the tenant leaving for repayment of these debts – which unfortunately leaves you with lots of demands for money, which you might not have.
Will eviction debt stop me from renting other properties?
Non-payment of rent can make it hard to rent another property, as can any other lease violation. Future landlords may not be willing to rent to people with past due rent listed on their credit reports. There are some housing associations and other organizations that might rent to a tenant with a poor credit report, delinquent debt, or other debts, but these can be hard to find and they could have a long waiting list. This means that an old eviction could make it nigh on impossible to find a new landlord.
How does eviction debt affect my credit report?
An eviction will usually cause a negative mark on your credit report. Credit reports cover all missed payments, so any tenant who misses rent that is due could face a credit check coming up with a refusal, whether you want a loan or a new rental property.
Will major credit bureaus report my eviction debt?
Yes, all credit organizations will list your rental history, including any back rent due, as well as any other delinquent debt. If you are lucky and have very good credit other than the eviction debt, you might find that this does not work negatively against you. However, quite often, an eviction is a major negative attribute on your credit score. If you need to know how long will an eviction stay on your credit report, you can check with a financial advisor – but generally, once a landlord is satisfied you will be closer to the eviction being removed from your public record.
What are the three major credit bureaus?
The three largest credit organizations are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Though these companies may supply slightly different versions of your credit report, you will usually find that your credit history is generally very consistent – this means that an eviction will likely show on the credit score shown by all of these companies. Luckily, you can usually access your credit report for free so that you can see how an eviction debt has affected your credit score – and you can see when you get the eviction removed from your rental history and credit score.
Do I have to pay back unpaid rent?
Yes, most landlords will want full repayment of any rent that has been missed. You should also be cautious about picking the best date you can for leaving the house. You might find that you owe a whole month’s rent even if you leave the property part way through a month – and the last thing you want is additional rent that you owe, especially if you are already struggling with finances.
What other costs do I have to pay?
As well as the rent that you need to repay, there are also other fines and fees. You might find that your tenancy agreement outlines fines due on top of any rent payment that is late. This can make it harder to make full payment and get back into the black with this debt. If your previous landlord also has to go to court to chase repayment, you might also become liable for the court costs involved with taking the case to court.
What if I think the eviction debt is unfair?
If you think that the eviction debt is unfair, you should first make note to record everything that happens. Ideally, try to get rent receipts to show how much rent you have already paid. Check figures against the numbers in your rental agreement. Once you have the facts straight, you should contact your old landlord – there is, of course, a chance that it is all just a mistake. However, some landlords may attempt to add additional fees or fines outside the scope of the rental agreement and try to demand extra money. You should be sure to check carefully to make certain that the amount you have been told to pay is correct.
How do I pay off eviction debt?
Paying off eviction debts is important to make sure you are more appealing as a good tenant to a potential landlord, but it can be hard to cover these debts when you are in difficult financial circumstances. Let’s look at some ways that you work towards paying off these debts.
Arrange a payment plan
Many landlords will be willing to discuss a repayment plan to help you pay off the debt slowly over a longer period of time. This is because a landlord may deem that it is worth getting the repayment even if it takes longer than one month to get a month’s rent repayed. It is important to be honest with your previous landlord and say how much you can afford monthly without overstretching your budget. If you fail to repay money even with a repayment plan in place, it can look like you do not wish to repay the debt, and your old landlord may choose to chase you down for repayment or take the matter to court. Remember, a landlord does not have to accept a payment plan, so you should try your best to stay in your landlord’s good books. If you find you are unable to pay the instalments for your repayment, you should contact your landlord immediately. Remember, open and honest communication makes the process easier for all parties involved.
Make a settlement offer
As with payment plans, some landlords may be willing to take a settlement offer. This means that they will accept partial payment, after which they will write off the rest of the debt. This is because even partial payment can be more appealing to come landlords, compared to the risk that they will not get any of the money paid back to them. However, you should be sure to get any settlement offer in writing. This means that the landlord will not be able to change their mind and demand the rest of the overdue rent even after the settlement payment has been made. Again, you should be aware of how much you can afford. Do not offer too much as an offer if it will put you into a worse financial position.
Sort your personal finance
Whether you have a payment plan, a partial repayment offer, or whether you are going to have to pay off the whole balance of the debt, you will need to look at your personal finances in order to make sure you can pay the back rent. Let’s look at how to address your finances in order to have enough cash flow for the repayments on your eviction debt.
Increase your income
If you were struggling to pay each month’s rent, you might need a higher income in order to pay off the eviction debt. There are two major ways to increase your income – get a higher salary, or get an additional side income.
Get a higher salary
While this might seem easier said than done, the best way to get a higher income is to get a higher salary. This might mean changing to a different job role, especially if you are in a low-paid field. However, this might be difficult and might take a long time.
If you are in a professional field, you can increase your salary by negotiating with your manager, employer, or the human resources department in your company. If you feel you are due a raise, you can make a convincing case, but it can still be nerve-wracking to address the issue, especially if you are worried that your boss might not take kindly to the request.
Another way to look at getting a higher salary is to start job hunting for other roles in your field. A lot of companies will offer a higher starting salary to people in order to attract talent away from their competitors. The bonus of this is that if you get a higher salary offer from another company, you can ask your current employer whether or not they can match the salary – a lot of the time, companies will try their best to retain good employees.
Get a side job
Whether or not you can get a higher salary at your current job, you can also look for ways to increase your earnings outside that employment. For example, you can look at getting an additional job. This is easier than it used to be, with so many companies allowing flexible working hours. This means you can start to work a part-time job in your evenings, as well as working your main job during the day. Alternatively, you could look at getting a job in a cafe, bar, or other service industry location – while this is hard work, it can be relatively lucrative, especially if you find somewhere where you are likely to get good tips.
If you want something where you are more in charge, you could also look at freelance work, self-employment, or even starting your own business. This can be anything from working as a freelance podcast editor in the evenings, working as a gardener on the weekends, becoming a private car hire driver, or even making and selling custom-decorated cakes for customers. Almost any skill you have can be monetized in some way, meaning you can get more money to pay off your debts.
However, you should be cautious when taking on more work to get more money. If you find that you are working too many hours each day, you might resort to buying fast food, which might burn through all the additional money you make. At the extreme end of this, you might even find that working too many hours – especially if you are doing manual labor – might cause you injury that could cost more in medical bills to fix.
Lower your expenses
The rate you pay off your debts is all about your income when compared to your outgoings. This means that as well as increasing your income – or if you can’t increase your income – you need to lower your expenses in order to pay down the eviction debt.
Cut monthly bills
One of the biggest expenses we have is monthly bills. If you can lower these, you can start putting a lot more money towards your eviction debt. The best way to start this is to look at what you are paying for and making sure that you need it – or, more brutally, try to cut out anything that you think you can live without. For example, if you have a cell phone plan with a lot of data, you could save a significant amount of money by switching to a cheaper plan instead. If you have any streaming services, you could cancel these in order to save some money.
Cut down on luxuries
Another area where most people can save a bit of money is their luxuries. While it can be important to treat yourself from time to time, cutting down on purchases such as clothes, takeaways, makeup, video games, or any other little luxuries can help you lower your outgoings enough to make a difference. Of course, no one item will make enough of a difference to solve all your debt problems, but combined with other methods, it can still help you pay down an eviction debt.
Borrow money from friends or family
No one wants to borrow money from friends or family, but sometimes it is inevitable, and it can be a great help, if your friends and family can afford to help – obviously not everyone can afford to help others out of their debts, but it is always worth asking. Of course, do not expect people to give you money to pay off your eviction debt. It is always polite and proper to have a repayment agreement worked out with the people who you borrow cash from. However, you’ll often find that friends and family will not add interest and might be more understanding if you struggle to make your repayments for one month, which can take a huge stress off while you are trying to get back on your feet.
Prioritize your debts
When paying off debts, you should always look at prioritizing. Focus on paying down the most vital debts first. If you are unsure what order to approach this in, you might be able to get financial advice from a debt advisor. Generally, though, any debt that stops you from having a home should be addressed sooner than any debts that do not have such major negative consequences.
What happens if I don’t pay eviction debt?
If you do not manage to pay off your eviction debts, you could face legal action. Landlords or a property manager will rarely let debts slide, and you might find that you are approached by collection agencies, or they may try to push for wage garnishment, meaning that your wages never even reach your bank account.
Keep at it
Remember, keep at it, and focus on paying down your debts – until you do, you might find it hard to get landlords to accept you as a tenant of their properties. Once you have your debt sorted, you can focus on showing a potential landlord that you are a great tenant for their property, meaning that you can get back onto the rental market and have a home of your own once more.