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By Christine DiGangi / Credit.com
August 3, 2016

Searching for a good place to live is tricky enough to make anyone, even a person without past financial problems, hate the process. So to find an apartment that’s affordable, has the features that meet your needs and is in a decent location, only to have the landlord hold up your application because of an old item on your credit report — well, it’s frustrating, to say the least. A Credit.com reader recently found themselves in this situation:

We put the question to John C. Heath, a credit expert and consumer attorney for Lexington Law, a Credit.com partner. Here’s what he said.

Read: How to Dispute an Error on Your Credit Report

“I don’t know if I would attempt to secure a settlement. The amount has been written off,” Heath wrote in an email to Credit.com. The reader may want to check the statute of limitations in their state, because the debt may no longer be enforceable, Heath added.

This may take some explaining to your landlord. “I would speak with the landlord and see if they would be willing to overlook a [six-year-old] debt. A lot can change in a six year period,” Heath wrote.

Read: Does Credit Repair Work?

Negative information on credit reports (like a charged-off debt) generally remains there for seven years. It’s important to remember that this goes for paid, unpaid and settled debts alike — so paying off an old debt doesn’t remove the negative history from the record. However, if you feel information on your credit report is inaccurate or unfair, you can challenge it with the credit bureaus and data furnishers reporting it to them.

Read: How Long Can Debt Collectors Come After Me?

You can do this on your own (you can go here to learn more about disputing errors on your credit report), or you could consider hiring a reputable credit repair professional to help you.

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