Q: Can I remove a debt collection charge if I can provide proof that I am not responsible for the debt?
I found about $35 non-compliance fee per month charge for not providing a current renters insurance policy to my landlord. They charged me $70 for 2 months despite me having insurance. I discovered that they have a copy of my current policy and so far I only received $35, but will potentially receive another charge of $35. The management company is refusing to delete this charge off my account because they claimed that I turned in my documents late. However, State Farm has provided a landlord renewal certificate for my insurance policy. If this amount with the addition of late fees be reported to a debt collection agency, it could negatively affect my credit score. I do not want to be charged for renters insurance that I already have and is provided to the apartment complex.
You are asking a hypothetical question. Typically a property management company would not submit this kind of thing to a credit bureau until after you move out because they would simply take the fee out of your security deposit.
Assuming that the landlord reports a debt of $35 plus late fee to a credit bureau, or any collection amount, you have the right to file a dispute with the credit bureau. Send in your written dispute with all of your proof to the address shown on the credit report for mailing in a dispute. Do NOT submit the dispute online. Save a copy of the letter and all attachments and send the letter certified mail with a tracking number you can look up the tracking online. Print and keep a copy of the tracking. The credit bureau then asks the proeprty management company to validate/verify the information. If the property management company verifies the debt is legitimate, the credit bureau will note that you dispute the account, but the report will remain. The only way the report will be completely removed is if the property management company fails to respond to the request for validation/verification or of the management company chooses to remove it.
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