What to do if we were served today for damages on a rental property that we had rented for 3 years?

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What to do if we were served today for damages on a rental property that we had rented for 3 years?

The total amount is $3411. I had been in contact with the debt collector last summer and had offerred to pay off with cash $2000, they would not settle. I then offerred to make payments, which they advised against, stating that it would remain on my credit for 10 years. I have never had any other large debt issues or major credit problems, what can I expect when this is taken to a judge? Will they garnish my/husbands wages? If we do make payments, and pay off the debt in full over a period of time, how long will this remain on my credit and will a letter stating paid in full be enough to help me qualify for a house?

Asked on December 26, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Generally, information on your credit history will remain there for seven years. The quickest way to get this off your history would be to pay it in full and have the creditor (the one to whom you owe money; presumably the landlord you had been renting from) both dismiss the case with prejudice (which means they can't file it again) and--if the arrears has already been reported to credit rating agencies--let the credit agencies know the debt has been paid in full.

If you go to court, if you legitimately owe the money--that is, you legitimately did (and the creditor can back up or prove) $3,411 of damages, the judge will presumably find in favor of the creditor. That will result in a judgment against you, which will defintely harm your credit. You will also have to pay the judgment immediately (unless the creditor agrees to accept payment over time); if you don't, wages could be garnished.


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