The Problem

In Oregon, if someone files an eviction case against you, that eviction case shows up in Oregon’s court records forever.

Once the [eviction case] is served and filed, you will have a permanent record in housing court… If you win sanctions against me and you can say you won in court, do you think that will make any prospective landlords feel better about renting to you?

Letter from landlord’s attorney to tenant, April 3, 2017
(just one of many)

It doesn’t matter if someone was a good tenant.
It doesn’t matter if a landlord made a mistake.
It doesn’t matter if a landlord was illegally discriminating.
It doesn’t matter if the tenant won the eviction case.
It doesn’t matter if a landlord wrote down the wrong name in her paperwork.
It doesn’t matter how long ago it all happened.

But maybe it should – because having an eviction case show up on your background search can be a major problem for a tenant. It can mean higher rent, bigger deposits, or often just rejection after rejection when you’re trying to find a new home.

Most landlords don’t know that they’re not legally allowed to consider eviction cases that are more than five years old. And even if a landlord does know this, when they run a tenant’s background check the report often fails to do a good job of explaining whether the tenant won or lost the case. But landlords use these reports to deny tenants housing every day.