Should we settle or ignore a debt collection account?
In May 2008 I left a lease without notice because there was neglected maintenance and water damage.
A collection agency contacted me a few months later (Sept) and I disputed the debt. They sent a validation with the rental agreement, and I responded with another dispute and have not heard anything since (Nov. 2008).
The collection is on my credit report with a last date of Nov 08. Now I am trying to get approved for a new home loan and it is affecting the process.
What is the best way to handle this?
How do I even know the same agency has the account?
Do I contact the same one that I dealt with 3 years ago to find out?
I am worried that if I inquire or offer to settle (not admitting to responsibility for the debt) that it will 're-activate' the collection and hurt my credit even more.
Also, what are the chances that the collectors would settle for a low lump sum? And how would this affect my credit? Could it be completely deleted from my credit report?
Thanks for the help!