Beyond displacement: How the ripple effects of an eviction can last for years

An eviction can appear on a renter's credit history for up to seven years, hindering their search for safe, affordable housing due to a ripple effect of negative consequences. But beyond displacement, the impact of an eviction can also cut a renter off from access to quality public transportation, schools and work. The stress of the process, and the upheaval of an abrupt move, can also hurt a tenant’s mental health. 

While an eviction itself may only appear on a credit report for a finite time, the existence of an eviction filing is a matter of public court record — even if a renter was never actually evicted — and can be viewed by any landlord evaluating a tenant’s application. Issues that a landlord may view negatively in a tenant’s history include outstanding balances, judgements against the tenant and an individual’s criminal record, according to Kyle Webster, general counsel for ACTION-Housing, a nonprofit offering affordable housing and tenant services.  

Webster explains how these records can impact renters beyond immediate displacement. For instance, if housing in a neighborhood is competitive due to access to resources like good public transit, jobs and quality schools, the result can be that applicants who faced past evictions are effectively pushed out of the area.