Sounds tough, sorry about your ordeal. When you say bad previous rental history, is it something on your credit report? If not, I wouldn't mention it to the next landlord. Many private landlords do not do credit checks, and only need references. Not telling you to lie, but if you start off saying you were recently evicted and owe a past landlord money, no landlord will want to deal with that same ordeal...
Best of Luck;
CEO & SR Credit Repair Specialist at
Everlasting Credit Repair