Not checking for evictions is like gambling with your rental income.

Few things are more time-consuming and expensive for a property owner than having to evict a non-rent-paying tenant. A conservative estimate of the costs involved averages $2,500 - $3,500 per unit* (including court costs, lost revenue, and other eviction-related expenses). Estimates also suggest that it can take as long as three to four weeks for the eviction process to run its course.*

While it’s not possible to eliminate the risk of a tenant eviction entirely, there are things you can do to greatly reduce your risk.

History of evictions is predictive of future evictions

Involuntary turnovers—caused by residents skipping out on payments or other factors—are a major headache for landlords and property managers. But having knowledge of a prospective tenant’s past history can help avoid such headaches.

A recent TransUnion analysis found that a tenant’s history of prior evictions and rental-related collections records is highly predictive of the likelihood of future behavior. Also, evicted residents have nearly three times as many prior evictions and rental-related collection records as non-evicted residents.

The analysis examined the records of individuals from nearly 200 properties, comparing those who were evicted to those who were not evicted.

Their findings included:

  • In the “not evicted” group, 5.5% of residents had prior evictions on their records.
  • For those who were ultimately evicted, the number rose to 21.7% of residents with a prior eviction.
  • Evicted residents have twice as many prior rental-related collection records as non-evicted residents.

Evicted residents have nearly three times as many prior eviction and rental-related collection records than non-evicted residents

Unlike large property management companies that can have the resources to cover occasional evictions, independent landlords with only a few properties often can’t afford any serious dents in their rental income.

What you can do to help prevent evictions

As an independent property owner or manager, you have resources to help avoid these worst-case scenarios. Pulling a tenant eviction report can help you better predict a tenant’s future behavior by knowing his or her past rental history.

Unlike credit reports that might include monetary judgments resulting from an eviction, eviction reports contain more comprehensive public record information which may include: tenant judgment for possession and money; unlawful detainers; tenant judgments for rent; failure to pay rent; and writs and warrants of eviction.

Getting more information about your tenant’s background is one of the best ways to make an educated decision about which tenants to accept and which to reject.

TransUnion can help you

TransUnion SmartMove® eviction reports can help you better understand an applicant's risk by obtaining past eviction information. Additionally, our ResidentScore predicts evictions 8%** better than a general credit score in the bottom ranges where risk is greatest.

SmartMove offers:

  • Comprehensive and more accurately matched search results.
  • Ability to more accurately match your applicant to potential eviction records, even with limited information.
  • One of the largest evictions databases with 25+ million eviction records, covering all 50 states plus Washington D.C.

The equation is simple: More coverage + More accurate matching = Better information delivered to you fast. And with better information, you can make better decisions to manage your eviction risk.

Learn more about SmartMove eviction reports.

*Based on 2015 TransUnion data
**Based on 2013 TransUnion data