Eviction Judgment and Credit Reports

Do Eviction Judgments Appear on Credit Reports?

Eviction judgments are a very powerful tool that dramatically increases the odds of a creditor collecting on the debt. In evictions cases, a judgment will order the Arizona tenant to pay all back rents, late fees, court costs, and attorneys’ fees associated with the eviction.

An eviction judgment is basically a court order requiring the tenant to pay the landlord the sum of these damages. After making a written demand for the awarded damages most people will not voluntarily pay. However, this is where the judgment itself can help an Arizona landlord recover their money.

A judgment can give creditors the power to garnish wages, levy bank accounts, or place liens on certain assets. Without the judgment all a creditor can do is beg for the money. But with the judgment you can get people to pay whether they want to or not.

credit report

When a landlord obtains a judgment against someone, many people think it automatically go on their “record”, or credit report, but this isn’t always the case. The eviction judgment is a matter of public record, but the only way to guarantee that a judgment will show up on a credit report is to record the judgment with the relevant Arizona county. The eviction judgment will stay recorded until the debt is paid, it expires, or the debtor files bankruptcy.

In Arizona, most residential evictions occur in a Justice Court. In order to record the judgment with the county, a certified copy of the judgment must be sent to the Arizona Superior Court to receive a new case number. Once a Superior Court judgment has been established a certified copy can be recorded with the appropriate county. Each of these steps requires a filing fee–as of 2021–the total fees are just over $120.

A judgment will remain on the credit report until it is paid, or for as long as the judgment is valid. In Arizona, judgments are automatically valid for 10 years. However, a credit can renew the judgment which will extend it’s life for another 5 years. If the debt is paid in full then the creditor must file a satisfaction of judgment with the county to demonstrate that he debt has been paid in full.

In summary, here are the main things to know when recording a judgment with an Arizona county.

  • The only way to ensure a judgment shows up on a credit report is to record it;
  • If the judgment is paid in full then the creditor MUST file a satisfaction of judgment with the court and then with the county recorder;
  • If not paid, the judgment will remain valid for 5 years, and possible an additional 5 years if it is renewed.

It is a common misconception that eviction judgments automatically appear on a former tenant’s credit report. However, this is not the case. The judgment is a public record, and a diligent background checker will find it, but the only way to ensure the judgment appears on someone’s credit report is to record it with the county. Once this happens, it will appear on their credit report as a monetary judgment, but there won’t be any indication that it was also an eviction judgment.

Ideally, a background check will reveal the eviction judgment even without it being recorded with the county. If you are a landlord, you should always perform background checks on prospective tenants.

However, for more everyday occurrences that don’t require a full-blown background check (like applying for a credit card or loan), having a blighted credit report can make life difficult, even if it doesn’t specify that it is an eviction judgment. In Arizona, judgments are initially valid for ten (10) years–and can be renewed. A defendant can have pay the landlord – creditor the judgment balance and a satisfaction of judgment will be filed with the court. Once the judgment is satisfied it will be reflected on the credit report.

satisfaction of judgment

Once a former tenant has satisfied the eviction judgment, it is the landlord’s responsibility to file a satisfaction of judgment with with the court. This will provide notice to all interested parties–including future landlords–that the debt has been satisfied. 

If you need help from an Arizona real estate attorney then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-389-6529 or message us HERE.