Expunge means to erase the public record of a case. In order to get an expungement, the court must find that:
- the landlord’s case is “sufficiently without basis in fact or law,”
- expungement is “clearly in the interests of justice,” and
- the “interests of justice” are not outweighed by “the public’s interest in knowing the record.”
The court can expunge your eviction only if the judge thinks the landlord was wrong to file the case and it would be unfair to leave it on your record. Examples might be:
- the court papers were not given to you correctly
- the landlord said you had not paid the rent, but you proved that you had
- the landlord was getting back at you (retaliating) for complaining about repairs
- the landlord said you broke the lease, but you proved that you did not
- you were a tenant in a foreclosed property but did not get a timely notice to move.
See our Fact Sheet When Your Landlord Loses the Building.
Expungement is an important thing to include in your settlement agreement. A lot of times a landlord will agree to an expungement if you do everything you say you will do in a settlement agreement – like move out or make all your payments on time.