Removing Expired Judgments from Credit Reports
If you are looking to buy a residence, or refinance an existing mortgage, past credit problems may haunt you for longer than you expect. However, there is hope once enough time has elapsed. Unfortunately, creditors and credit bureaus do not always properly report, requiring you to take action.
What to do if an old judgment is treated like a current debt?Mortgage companies don't understand the difference between a former debt showing on a credit report versus having personal liability. So, any person with a expired judgment showing on a credit report is forced to deal with the credit report (and possibly with a third party credit service company, if the mortgage company is using such a service). I recently dealt with a third party credit service misreporting inaccurate negative credit information, and the only cure was to get the item(s) removed from the credit report. You might have to participate in what is called a "tradeline" conference call with the credit servicing company and the reporting creditor in order to get the reporting creditor to cease the illegal reporting of a negative item more than seven years old.
Know the law of credit reporting for expired judgments.Sec. 1681c of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides:
"(a) Except as authorized under subsection (b), no consumer reporting agency may make any consumer report containing any of the following items of information:
. . .
(2) Suits and judgments which, from date of entry, antedate the report by more than seven years or until the governing statute of limitations has expired, whichever is the longer period.
. . .
(b) The provisions of subsection (a) are not applicable in the case of any consumer credit report to be used in connection with--
(1) a credit transaction involving, or which may reasonably be expected to involve, a principal amount of $ 50,000 or more; "
My experience is that all three major credit bureaus will remove any judgment from reporting once they are past seven years from the date of entry. Thus, as of the date of this guide in 2016, judgments entered in 2009 or before are subject to removal from your credit report now (or later this year upon the seven year anniversary).
I suggest any person with an expired judgment confirm the date of entry of each judgment, obtain an online credit report from all three major credit bureaus, and file a dispute for any judgment (or other negative item) which is seven or more years old (although bankruptcy filings may show for ten years). If the date of entry of any judgment does not show on the credit report (or is not accurate), you should provide proof of the date of entry (can be uploaded online or emailed).