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Arizona renters whose eviction cases have been settled now will have those court filings sealed so they won’t be a black mark on their credit records.
The bipartisan legislation to help protect tenants was signed Friday by Gov. Doug Ducey.
The new law seals eviction records for people who had their cases dismissed before a court judgment or if a judgment was made in their favor, said Maxine Becker, an attorney and tenant advocate for Phoenix-based Wildfire, a poverty-relief nonprofit.
Rep. Justin Wilmeth, R-Phoenix, sponsored the legislation that was backed by Wildfire, the Arizona Housing Coalition and other housing advocates.
The new law will help many tenants who were able to pay back rent and eviction fees with federal renter aid during the pandemic.
Settled Arizona eviction cases essentially will be hidden from credit reporting agencies so renters won't be dinged for evictions that never actually happened.
“It’s making sure someone who was in that (eviction) process and finally found a way (to pay) ... doesn’t have that bad little moment in time follow them around for seven years," Wilmeth said.
Another bill that Wildfire and housing advocates backed that dropped the $18 filing fee renters are required to pay to file a response to landlords in Arizona eviction courts was signed by Ducey a few months ago.
The fees only generated about $35,000 a year.
The new laws come as metro Phoenix evictions start to climb back to pre-pandemic and moratorium levels.
Coverage of housing insecurity on azcentral.com and in The Arizona Republic is supported by a grant from the Arizona Community Foundation.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: New Arizona law seals some eviction cases from credit agencies