Effective Ways to Remove a Rental Judgment from Your Credit Report

A rental judgement is an order from a court that requires a tenant to pay a landlord for damages (or unpaid rent) after they move out. This can cause a lot of problems for tenants, as landlords can report this judgement to credit bureaus and damage their credit score. If you’re dealing with a rental judgement and want to know how to remove it, read on.

Check the validity of the judgement

The first step in removing a rental judgement is to make sure it’s valid. Sometimes, landlords will file judgements for amounts that aren’t accurate or legal. For example, if a landlord takes security deposit funds for damages that aren’t the tenant’s responsibility, the judgement would be invalid. You should get a copy of the judgement and go through it with a fine-tooth comb to make sure there are no misrepresentations.

Set up a payment plan

If the judgement is valid, one of the best ways to remove it is to set up a payment plan with the landlord. If you can show the court that you’re making regular payments, it can dismiss the judgement. You should reach out to the landlord and try to work out a plan that makes sense for both of you. Make sure to get everything in writing to avoid any issues in the future.

File a motion to vacate

If you can’t work out a payment plan, another option is to file a motion to vacate the judgement. This means you’re asking the court to throw out the judgement due to errors or circumstances that warrant relief. Some common reasons for filing a motion to vacate include improper service (the landlord didn’t properly serve you with the notice of the lawsuit), excusable neglect (you didn’t show up to court because of extenuating circumstances), or fraud (the landlord lied to the court). You’ll need to provide evidence to support your motion.

Explore expungement options

In some states, you may be able to expunge a rental judgement from your record. This means that the legal record of the judgement is destroyed or sealed, so it doesn’t show up on background checks or credit reports. However, not all states allow expungement for rental judgements, so you’ll need to do your research. If your state does allow expungement, you’ll likely need to file a petition with the court and show that you’ve met certain requirements (such as paying the judgement in full or completing a certain amount of community service).

Dispute errors on your credit report

If the rental judgement is already on your credit report, there are a few things you can do to try to get it removed. The first step is to dispute any errors with the credit bureau. You should get a copy of your credit report and go through it line by line to make sure everything is accurate. If there are errors (such as the judgement being listed for the wrong amount or under the wrong name), you can dispute them with the bureau and provide evidence of the mistake.

Negotiate a settlement with the landlord

If you can’t get the judgement removed from your credit report through a dispute, you may be able to negotiate a settlement with the landlord. This means that you offer to pay a portion of the judgement (or the entirety of it) in exchange for the landlord agreeing to remove the judgement from your credit report. Make sure to get everything in writing and keep detailed records of the negotiations.

Contact a credit repair agency

If you’re struggling to remove the rental judgement on your own, you can also reach out to a credit repair agency. These agencies specialize in finding and disputing errors on credit reports, and they may be able to help you get the judgement removed. However, make sure to do your research and choose a reputable agency, as some credit repair companies can be scams.

Stay on top of your credit report

Finally, the best way to prevent rental judgements from damaging your credit score is to stay on top of your credit report. You should get a copy of your report at least once a year and go through it to make sure everything is accurate. If there are errors or judgements that shouldn’t be there, act quickly to get them removed. By being proactive about your credit, you can avoid a lot of headaches down the line.

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