Everyone makes mistakes and the law recognizes that. This is why the law allows for certain cases to be eligible for expungement. When most people hear the word “expungement”, they usually think of a criminal expungement, such as when an individual is trying to gain back their right to own a firearm. While Thooft Law does represent clients for criminal expungements, today we address a more uncommon and unknown expungement — evictions.
What does an expungement mean?
An expungement simply means the record of a court case will be removed from public view. This means that someone searching court files will not be able to view your case.
Evictions, sometimes called unlawful detainers or UDs, can be expunged but are more complicated. To qualify for expungement, the eviction must fit a few factors.
What types of evictions qualify for expungement?
Usually, you cannot get an expungement when an eviction was based on unpaid rent. This is because the landlord had good cause to evict you. Examples of good cases for expungements are:
- You won the case or the case was dismissed.
- The landlord’s case was sufficiently without basis in fact or law.
- You were not properly served the court papers.
- It is clearly in the interest of justice.
- There is little reason for the public or other landlords to know about the case.
- You were not occupying the unit when the eviction was filed.
- You settled the case and did everything that was required of you in the settlement agreement.
What can help my expungement case?
You will need as much information and details as possible to aid your eviction expungement. Some things that can be helpful are:
- Time – The case is old, was when you were young, or when you first started renting.
- Character – You did everything you were asked to in the settlement agreement, you have not had any evictions after, and you are currently not subject to an eviction at the moment.
- Justice – The eviction makes it hard for you to find housing. Keep a log of each time you have applied for housing, each time you have been denied housing, how many locations and times you have moved due to lack of housing, how much money you have spent on relocating or application fees, etc.
- Responsibility – You have a family you are supporting that needs housing.
- Furthermore, it can be helpful to your case if the landlord agreed not to fight the expungement.
Who can decide if my case can be expunged?
Only the judge has the power to issue a decision on an expungement. Unless you were evicted when the property was in foreclosure in which the judge has to issue a mandatory expungement, your case will be decided based on the sole discretion of a judge. This is why it is extremely important to gather your facts, get as much details as possible, and be prepared to present your case effectively.
An attorney will be very helpful in your eviction expungement. The expertise an attorney can provide you in filing, advising, guiding, and arguing your case before a judge will greatly increase your chances of the judge granting an expungement. Derek Thooft has represented clients successfully in a wide variety of expungement cases. For a free consultation, contact Thooft Law at 651-364-7725 or by email at [email protected]