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5 y/o judgment on TU from landlord, should I try to vacate?

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Hello again everyone! I'm tackling the last few baddies on my reports and one I hadn't paid much attention to before now has me stumped.


On my TU report there is a judgment filed in the public records section. It was filed in 4/2012 for the amount of 154$ from old landlord.


Backstory: Around 01/2012 I was 8 months pregnant and leaving a bad relationship, so I left my state in a hurry and neglected to pay rent for several weeks. I finally went back late January/early February 2012 with my brother to explain the situation to the property managers: I was on a month to month lease and pregnant, had recently lost my job, and needing to be closer to my family so wanted to settle and pay what I owed and end my lease. The details are admittedly hazy to me but I believe I remember paying them the last month's rent with the agreement that I'd have my things cleared out in a week. The specific details of the date, payment, and whether anything was even signed is almost nonexistent in my memory, unfortunately. I was an emotional wreck.


The suit was filed against me 1/25/2012 and court records state the process server delivered summons to "Adult male of suitable age" who was likely my ex stopping over to collect his things, and never passed the summons on to me. Records also state it was sent certified mail to my address, but of course I wasn't in the city for at least a month and never received it. I was unaware of the suit at the time I visited the property managers to end my lease and although I don't recall the specifics of our conversation(I DO recall they were extremely kind and helpful though) I don't think they mentioned the suit, just my late rent needing to be paid.


So the original judgement amount is for 154$ for "damages"(of which the only thing I can think of is the broken garbage disposal and need for new carpet?). There were two parts to the lawsuit and the first one, "restitution of property" was dismissed(I'm guessing after I officially met with managers and turned in my keys), but the second part which was suing me for any damages was not dismissed and resulted in the default judgment on my transunion report.


Is it at all possible I could get this vacated, on the grounds that the adult it was apparently left with was not a resident and did not forward it to me?


Or that while the suit was moving through the courts unbeknownst to me, I had made arrangements to settle what I owed my landlord and they accepted payment without dismissing the case or making me aware there might be more owed at a later time? I know the judgment is for damages plus court costs, so whatever I was quoted that I owed must've been enough to cover my late rent, but not enough to cover the court costs that I knew nothing about or "damages" to my apartment that had yet to be determined if I was still officially living there when I met with the property managers. I believe I would have paid the entire amount if I was made aware of it and I don't believe I was when I spoke to the property managers. I was there to actively work with them so it seems strange I wasnt given a chance to pay the full amount and have the suit dropped. I have always remembered it to be a very helpful meeting with them where we all left happy, I had no idea of the complaint and the possibility that what I payed was not going to be the total amount.


I officially vacated the premises and turned in the keys in early February but they continued to send court correspondence to THAT address throughout this time and as late as May 2012 when the default judgement was granted.



I have been trying to read whatever I could find online about this but I thought I might get some pointers here. Do I have any case for vacating the default judgement at all? Would hiring a lawyer be the way to go? Should I try contacting my old apartment management to see if they have any records that might be useful to me? I'm desperately aiming to qualify for a USDA loan for a house this year and I'm trying to get my bases covered. Is this pretty much hopeless? Thanks for reading!

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