Renting out a space to a prospective tenant can be a stressful undertaking, particularly for first-time landlords.
Putting a place you’ve worked hard to renovate in the hands of a relative stranger is a massive leap of faith, which is why it helps to do research.
If you are opposed to spending money, this article will help you search for public eviction records completely free.
The process is often time-consuming but relatively straightforward. The biggest hangups will be finding reliable sites or utilizing your local courthouse.
By the end of this, you will have all the information needed to get a comprehensive idea of a person’s former evictions.
How To Find Public Eviction Records
The most common practice of finding a tenant’s previous eviction notices is by looking through an eviction report.
Eviction reports don’t always cover every strenuous renter-rentee relationship, however.
Evictions that did not go through or were overturned in court will not appear, though this does not mean they are unavailable.
Our ultimate tip for looking up public eviction records is to use a public records tool (we recommend this one).
While we cover other methods below, they can be incredibly time consuming and tedious.
A lookup tool is fast, convenient, and simple; there is a fee for using them, but the hours (or even days) of time saved could be well worth it.
Search Your County or State Website
The simplest way that doesn’t require leaving your chair is to check your local court site or even the state alternative if your area doesn’t have a worthwhile digital record.
While a number of areas allow public record searches for free, it doesn’t mean every state or county will be as generous.
When you are on the website, you will need either the tenant’s identity, the previous landlord’s identity, or the individual case number.
You won’t get a detailed report listing every inconvenience the tenant put through their landlord, though you will get the general time it took place as well as any outstanding fees that may have arisen from the court’s verdict.
For those lamenting the archaic website their local area has subjected them to, don’t fret.
The next step will go into how you can check this information in person, regardless of location.
Go To Your Local Courthouse
While you may have to work around odd hours, your local government building should have information on any previous evictions the target individual may have.
As listed above, you will need either the identity of the tenant, the landlord, or the case file number. Keep in mind that, similar to a digital search, your area may require you to pay a fee.
Calling the courthouse and asking them ahead of time can save you a trip if you are averse to paying for eviction information.
The upside is that typical in-person case files offer more in-depth summaries of the previous living situation and what may have caused the eviction.
Check A Credit Report Bureau
If you are not looking to get information about another person, a credit report bureau can prove very helpful.
A credit report bureau is the best way to go for those looking to get ahead of previous evictions on their personal record.
Regardless of your financial situation, US citizens can legally get a free credit report once a year.
Once you have the report, find the public records or eviction section. These reports are long and full of painfully small text, so finding the appropriate section will save you quite a bit of time.
The public record portion of the report may not show recent evictions, so if you have recently been kicked out of an apartment or rented home, it may take a while to show up.
Final Word On Public Eviction Records
So, for those who have yet to find what they want from the choices listed above, it may be worth spending a few dollars.
If you are set on getting more information, using a people search engine or even paying a company to run an eviction report will help.
These websites and services specialize in aggregating public records and information, so they are an excellent last resort if you are out of options.
The one caveat is that certain legal requirements take precedence, so ensure you aren’t violating any FCRA (Federal Credit Reporting Act) guidelines.