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My Husband Could Not Pay His Rent 6 Years Ago. Will This Follow Him? – Kris

“Dear Steve,

Over 6 years ago, my husband was 19 year old and he lost his job. He was unable to find another one to pay for his apartment, so he ended up moving back in with his mom. He still owes that apartment complex about $2500 and it is going to be VERY difficult for us to pay this off. Our taxes will cover some of it, but I feel like I would be throwing money out the window, and i cant say for certain that we could finish paying it off. I’d rather use our pay off our only credit card, or use that to re-finance our car to get a lower interest rate (currently paying 18% on both car and credit card)

I don’t feel like he actually owes the apartment complex that much money anyway- He didn’t destroy the apt, he only left before the contract was up. They cleaned it up and moved someone else in.

I’ve heard that after 7 years (and 180 days) it will “fall off” your credit. When looking it up, I read that it does expire in a way, even though you still owe the money. What I want to know is if it still shows up on your credit if you apply to an apartment or a rental company. I dont want to keep getting rejected for houses, but I don’t want to waste the best chance we have at paying off our current debt.

Kris”

Dear Kris,

It is true that the item should come off the consumer credit report no later than 7.5 years from the time it was first reported delinquent. Typically this will happen at seven year though.

Depending on the statue of limitations in your state he may not be sued for that debt after it expires. Making a promise to pay, acknowledging the debt, or making a partial payment can extend the statute of limitations in many areas.

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Debt collectors can still attempt to collect the debt after the statute of limitations expires but can’t sue. Just be aware that even if it is off the credit report and has expired as a time barred debt, collectors can still hound you.

It is unclear if this has been reported on one of the many rental credit bureaus. They are different than a regular credit bureau. However the best thing you can do is make sure your credit is as stellar as possible to mitigate any damage done by this event. Getting your credit spiffed up will put you in a better position to rent or buy in the future. See the advice below on how to do this.

Rather than launch into some payment approach that sounds problematic for you, and considering the age of this debt, I would advise that you take a little bit of that tax return money and instead schedule an appointment with a local attorney to review the statute of limitations in your state and determine if that is no longer a worry or concern for you.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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