Your Questions About Credit Reports For Landlords

Sandra asks…

what can I do if there is a judgement against me and its wrong ?

I recently checked my credit and found a judgement against me and its wrong. I rented a house last year and moved on bad terms with the owner. The owner stated that I owed 4 grand. The judge dismissed it however now, I have a judgement against me on my credit report from the landlord stating that I owe him 2500.00. How can he do that ?
Even if its not true ? wouldn’t he need some type of proof ?.

John answers:

First go to Courthouse and get whatever copies of the judge
dismissing whatever, then go to the courthouse and get
copies of your judgement. You might need a lawyer after
that or since it is 2500.00 you can sue him back yourself
in small claims court (but see what the limit is for small claims) because if HE did not serve you properly for you
to show up in Court on Time and can proof that and then
proof he entered a false Judgement then you can sue him
back for more than 2500.00 for Defamation of Character
and the Court might be interested in processing their
own “false” claims against him.
Definitely consult a lawyer, some of them you can consult
with free. Some charge about 75.00.

David asks…

How do I go about getting my rent pay history reported on my credit report?

I am taking the necessary steps to resolve the credit issues I have and would like to have my positive rent pay history added to my credit report. I will use this in lieu of a mortgage to bring my score up. Any ideas if this can even be done and how?

John answers:

First, it IS NOT a lack of bad news that makes a good credit score. You dont want bad things on there, but if you dont create a new, good history, simply deleting the bad news does nothing.

Your landlord would have to agree to report it and then do so. Howver VERY few do this– its a hassle for them. Also, Rent is not a debt to be repaid– it is paid monthly AS you use it, just like utilities, which are also not generally reported.

James asks…

How to dispute a *wrong* judgement on my SafeRent consumer report?

When my previous landlord upgraded their computer system, they failed to update my payment. This mistake led them to file a court case against me for nonpayment of rent. After I complained to them, their lawyer dismissed the case. I thought this is the end, until I got denied by my current landlord. Of course, they rent me the apartment at last after I explained to them and showed them the copy of the dismissed court action.

I then realized that the court case must adversely impact my credit. However, there is no related item in the Public Record section of my credit report from Experian/TransUnion/Equifax. I finally found that my current landlord obtained my rental history through CoreLogic SafeRent, since saferent had a inquiry on my Experian (or Equifax, can’t remember) credit report. Later I obtained my consumer report from Saferent and there is indeed the court record on file. Following their instructions, I disputed this record to them. Today, I got the reply from Saferent, but it seems that they did not remove this record from my file:

Item 1
Repository CLS (I think this refers to CoreLogic Saferent)
JUDGMENT FILED IN 10-12 BY *** STATUS Other *** Court; DK:LT0093****
RESULTS: Verified As Shown
End of Disputed Information

It only shows “verified”, and their letter says that I have the right to add a “Statement of Dispute” to the consumer file they maintain.

My question is: (1) How can I remove this record completely? (2) Since it seems that this court record does not appear in my Public Record section of credit reports from Experian/TransUnion/Equifax, if I fail to do (1), will this affect my other applications, like mortgage etc? Of course, if I apply for another apartment and the landlord uses Saferent again, they will see this. I really think there is no reason that I should have any impact from other’s mistake. Please help.
Thank bdancer222 so much for a quick and valuable reply!! Yes the case was simply dismissed and I never had to go to the court. And yes when I disputed to Saferent, I did include a copy of the court notice, with the word “Dismissed” written on it and their lawyer’s (or office) signature. As you suggested, I will write another letter. But it’s such a relief to know the limited possible impacts. Thanks again!!

John answers:

SafeRent is a service landlords use to check out potential tenants. They pull info from credit reports and other sources. These kind of services can list things like if you had issues with other tenants or did a lot of damage. Mortgage companies would not use this kind of service and stict strictly to credit info thru the three credit bureaus.

If there had been an actual judgment, it would show on your credit reports in the public records section. I am reading this that the former landlord filed a lawsuit which was dropped when you proved they made an error in their records. It could be SafeRent is listing the filing of the lawsuit.

When you filed your dispute, did you include a copy of that dismissed court action? I suggest you send them another dispute and point out that the case was dismissed and no judgment entered.
As you are only likely to run into problems with this if another landlord uses this same service, it probably isn’t worth the time to contact a lawyer to force them to correct the error. But you might want to be insistent, without actually threatening legal action.

At least, send a statement explaining the error and dismissed lawsuit.

Donna asks…

How can i get rid of a collection on my credit report.?

I have a collection which claims it’s a joint from a apartment.
It’s over $2000 and i believe i am not responsible at all for it.
I tried disputing it on major credit reports but they claim they were able to verify it.
Is there another course of action i can do to get rid of it .?

John answers:

If this debt is from a lease that you signed jointly with someone else, the landlord can pursue one or both for the entire amount.

Your only options are to wait out the 7 year reporting period for the item to age off your credit file. Or negotiate a pay for delete settlement — you pay $x and they remove the item from your file. Depending on how old the debt is, you may be able to settle for half. You can then go after the other person on the lease for half.

Be sure to get any settlement agreement in writing and keep it, along with your payment proof, forever. Do not give the collector direct access to your bank account.

Charles asks…

Will i still be able to rent an apt if my eviction nor judgement is present on my credit report?

Lost my job which ended up in me losing my apt. I check my credit report religiously and its not appearing on there, not even as a judgement. Does that mean its not on there? Please help me understand.

John answers:

And eviction and judgment are actually two different things.

And eviction does not show up on your credit report, but a judgment would.

Did the landlord actually get a judgment? Did you show up in court when they filed for the eviction? If you did not go to court, then the landlord probably only got and order for possession of the property and did not get a judgment. Even if the landlord got a judgment if would show up on your credit report, but it does not say what it is for.

When landlords run checks on potential tenants they will do a credit check, but they may also do a search of court records for the evictions. Usually they will get this done through a 3rd party company which only looks for evictions where the landlord got a judgment for possession of the property. What this means is if the landlord started the eviction process and tenant moves before the day they are suppose to go to court and the landlord canceled the case then the 3rd party company would not even report this as and eviction. When I was a landlord I use to do my own search of court records and I would disqualify someone even if the landlord had filed the eviction and then dropped the case.

If a judgment does not show on your credit report, that is good. The next step would be to do a search of the court records for the county where you lived at the other apartment.

Good Luck

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