Rent with an eviction on your record.
While it can be very difficult to rent an apartment if you have recently been evicted, there are some steps to take that may be able to help. You may be able to use a free legal service or a non-profit credit counseling agency in order to help get the eviction off your record. There are also some government programs that may be able to assist throughout this process.
Normally each and every situation that lead to homelessness is different. Some people are evicted due to financial reasons and others can be in effect forced out of their home by the landlord due to the terms and conditions of the lease being broken. Some tenants even lose their home without going through the local housing court system. People may live in shelters due to the apartment they lived in was filled to capacity. There are many other situations as well. So while there are some ways to get help with renting a new apartment, there are no guarantees to the process being successful.
One of the most important determinations to make is why were you evicted? Was it for unpaid rent or some other financial obligation due to the landlord (e.g. utilities, deposits, etc.)? Or was the eviction for more of a legal or technical reason? This often determine the path to take to take when seeking a so called second chance on leasing an apartment.
Eviction was due to unpaid rent or other bills
In this case the options available are more limited. If the fact was that you just could not afford to keep up with paying the monthly costs of the home you live in, and if there was a valid lease agreement in place, then this may be the most difficult circumstance to deal with.
First, it is a good idea to ensure that the property owner is not charging you for both unpaid rent as well as fees associated with the eviction. In general a lease agreement will not allow the landlord to double charge. So always be on the lookout for that type of situation. You need to ensure the reason that the eviction is on your record is legitimate.
If the eviction truly was caused by you missing some monthly payments, do not pay any rent that is under contest. This can in effect acknowledge that you are agreeing that money was due. It takes away some or the tenants legal strength if/and when the case goes to housing court. Removing the eviction from your record will therefore be much harder if you make any payment on any portion of the arrears.
If the eviction was on your record due to unpaid utility bills (including water, electric, or gas), then review the lease agreement on your rights and obligations. Be sure that the lessee was responsible for paying them and not the landlord. As there are contracts in which a property owner may need to pay those costs. Then when you are at the point of wanting to rent a new home, some energy companies offer money to pay the deposit, even to applicants that have been evicted in the past and it is on their credit reports.
Legal process to removing an eviction or leasing an apartment
A renter can always turn to the court system for help. While this sometimes may seem like a daunting task (or it may seem expensive to do this) the fact it may be the best option available for deleting the eviction record on your name. If successful when going through the court process it will make it much easier to get a another chance, and to lease a new, second home or apartment.
Each and every state (and even some cities, counties, etc.) have certain laws and regulations in place that both landlord and tenants are responsible for following. They can be complicated. That is why there are programs that offer legal representation for free, courts that assign attorneys to very low income families, and other tools used to ensure the family has proper representation. The fact is if the eviction was illegal (or even questionable), it is much easier to get it removed and to therefore rent a new home.
If the eviction was caused by a technicality versus a financial issue, be sure the court puts that into writing. Or work with your attorney to document this. As it may be a little easier to rent a new home if/and when the rent was paid on time. Many apartment managers, landlords, and even homeowners may be more willing to take a chance on someone in this situation, or if they are coming from transitional housing. As if there was a dispute over say noise, lack of repairs or cleanliness of the home, that is not normally as important as the fact that the cost of the housing was paid on time. In addition, government affiliated rent free apartments may be a solution.
Additional ways to rent a new home post eviction
When you are seeking to rent a home again post eviction, you can always pay more money up front for the security or utility deposit. While it may be difficult for someone moving from homeless or a shelter to come up with the cash, the extra funds will make the likelihood of renting a new home easier. That additional financial commitment reduces risk to the landlord. So they may more be willing to sign a lease with you. There are even some non-profits that offer funds to help pay security deposits.
Ask for letters of recommendation from any relevant person or company that you can. For example, a recommendation from current and/or past employers may lead to the owner to be more willing to take a chance on leasing to you. Get reference letters from co-workers, friends, job training centers and/or non-profits...really anyone that can vogue for you and state that you are doing everything possible to improve your financial condition. Or if you are in a shelter or transitional housing unit, ask the case manager there for recommendations as well.
When all else fails, go down the path of rebuilding your credit rating. Note that this can take years to slowly but steadily do that. You can always work with a non-profit credit repair agency on accelerating the time-frame, and they will often provide free advice. But worst case it will take from 5-7 years for the reporting agencies to completely expunge the eviction from your credit repairs. So at that time it will be possible to rent a new home.