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Small Claims Judgments Reported to Credit Bureaus

Dear Experian,

I am a landlord that has been awarded a small claims judgment in excess of $5,000. Can this be reported to a credit bureau, if so how?


Dear RDT,

The judgment should become part of your previous tenant’s credit report with no action on your part.

Civil judgments like the one you describe are a debt owed through the court. As a result, they are collected routinely by the national credit reporting companies, including Experian.

Civil judgments are one of three types of public records that may appear in a person’s credit report. The other two are tax liens, which are a debt owed to the government in the form of unpaid taxes, and bankruptcies, which are legal actions to relieve a person of debts they owe.

All of the information in a credit report is related to debt. There is no information in a credit report about other types of public records, such as criminal lawsuits or arrest records, property tax records or other publicly available government records.

Similarly, a credit report does not include information about income, banking relationships such as checking or savings accounts, or assets such as certificates of deposit, retirement accounts, stock holdings, or real estate.

There are organizations that may collect some or all of that information, such as debit bureaus that maintain checking account histories, or background checking companies that may collect information from a variety of sources and compile it into a comprehensive report.

Thanks for asking.
The “Ask Experian” team