Statute Of Limitations On Debt: What You Ought To Know


You start getting notices about an old debt you had already forgotten so you worry. Unscrupulous collection agencies can force you to pay for debts that are past the statute of limitations. If you don’t know your rights this can happen to you.

What is the statute of limitations on debt?

Firstly, the statute of limitations on debt is a law that stablishes the amount of time a creditor or collector has to force you to pay via a court judgment. In other words, how long can a creditor or collector sue you to enforce payment.

Secondly, the state does not keep track of the statute of limitations on your debt, so it’s on you to defend yourself to avoid wage garnishments or even a lien on your property.

When does the statute of limitations start?

In some states the statute of limitaions on a debt starts when you fail to make a scheduled payment. A payment when your debt is on collections or even a partial payment might restart the time period.

Statute of limitations vary state-by-state.

On the short end some states are only 3 years, whereas other states are 15 years. Statute of limitations apply in the state the debt was created so be sure to keep this in mind.

Statute of Limitations and length of credit reporting are not the same.

A debt can stay on your credit report for up to 7 years, however you can dispute it if you think there are errors or shouldn’t be on your credit report at all.

What is a Time-Barred debt?

A debt past it’s statute of limitations is also known as a time-barred debt. Consequently, a creditor wont get a judgment against you on a time-barred debt if you defend yourself properly.

What are the categories for Time-Barred debts?

There are 4 catgories for debts and it’s important you know which category your debt is because the time is different for each type. 

  • Oral Agreements: Oral contracts are when you verbaly agree to pay back the money but there is nothing in writing.
  • Written Contracts: All debts that come as a result of a written contract fall under this category. Written contracts should also include the conditions of the loan. A medical debt might be an example of a written contract.
  • A Promissory Note: When you have a written agreement to pay back in certain payments and interest rate, this is considered a promissory note. Mortgages and student loans are examples of promisory notes.
  • An Open-Ended Account: With an open-ended account you have a revolving balance that you can pay and borrow again. For instance, credit cards are the perfect example for open-ended accounts.

Statue of limitations on debt and categories state-by-state.


State
OralWrittenPromissoryOpen
Alabama6663
Alaska6633
Arizona3533
Arkansas5333
California4244
Colorado6666
Connecticut6363
Delaware3334
D.C.3333
Florida5454
Georgia6464
Hawaii6666
Idaho5455
Illinois105105
Indiana106106
Iowa10555
Kansas5353
Kentucky105155
Louisiana1010103
Maine6666
Maryland3363
Massachusetts6666
Michigan6666
Minnesota6666
Mississippi3333
Missouri105105
Montana8585
Nebraska5454
Nevada6434
New Hampshire3363
New Jersey6666
New Mexico6464
New York6666
North Carolina3353
North Dakota6666
Ohio615156
Oklahoma3553
Oregon6666
Pennsylvania4444
Rhode Island10101010
S. Carolina3333
South Dakota6666
Tennessee6666
Texas4444
Utah6464
Vermont6653
Virginia5363
Washington6363
West Virginia10565
Wisconsin66106
Wyoming108108

To sum up, debt collectors might sue you for debts past the statute of limitations which could result in a possible violation of your consumer rights. We can help, we have access to experienced consumer protection lawyers.

Contact us, no obligation.

You can also visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for more information.