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How evictions can stay on your record longer than you think

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- On any given day, the hallways at the Judge D'Army Bailey Courthouse on Adams are lined with people waiting to see a judge.

A quick look at the docket on a day WREG recently visited showed lots of people were there for evictions.

Navigating the process without an attorney can be a challenge, so just imagine making the payments to avoid eviction, only to learn it's still on your record.

Matt Jones is an attorney in the Consumer Unit at Memphis Area Legal Services.

"It seems to be coming up quite a bit in our office."

He shared an example with WREG about a recent client facing this very problem.

"She made a deal with the property manager. She caught up on her rent, which she thought she caught up in full. She stayed to the end of her lease. She moved out and she tried to rent another place and they said, 'No you have an eviction.'"

He said despite paying rent and avoiding physical eviction, the legal process doesn't go away.

So, tenants end up with an eviction, which shows up in court records, and possibly a judgment for any unsettled back rent, and court costs, which affects credit.

"That kind of rental history, most people won't rent to you," added Jones.

Jones said his client is still looking for a place to live.

He said anyone facing eviction should keep up with their court date and any agreement made with the landlord.

"Get it in writing, make sure you understand what it is, you're exactly agreeing to, make sure your landlord or property manager knows what you've agreed to and take that to court."

Jones says this is especially important for tenants living in subsidized housing because judgments can prevent program participation for at least three years.