Being Sued By Your Current or Former New Jersey Landlord
So, you were a tenant of a property in New Jersey and you moved out. You thought that you would never have to see or hear from that landlord ever again. You thought that was the end of it. You thought you could move on.
To your surprise, a few months go by (or perhaps longer) and you suddenly receive a Complaint against you from your former landlord. You discover that your former NJ landlord is suing you for money that the landlord claims you owe. If this has happened to you, you are not alone.
While there are sometimes when a lawsuit from a landlord may be legitimate, there are other times when it is just a landlord looking for another opportunity to get more money from you.
New Jersey landlords often file a civil Complaint against you if they believe that you owe rent, you owe late fees, you owe utilities, you owe attorney’s fees, or you owe any other obligations under your former lease agreement. In many cases, landlords will sue former tenants to hold them responsible for damages within the property. The amount that you are sued for is usually much more than the security deposit that you may have paid to the landlord.
If you have been sued, you will need a New Jersey landlord tenant lawyer to defend you. Not only will a NJ landlord tenant lawyer be able to ensure that you properly respond to the landlord’s complaint, but a New Jersey landlord tenant attorney will know your best defenses to the lawsuit. At The Cintron Firm, we recognize that you may have many defenses to the Complaint that was filed against you in the Superior Court of New Jersey. These defenses may include:
- You may not owe rent if you were wrongfully evicted.
- You may not owe rent if you gave proper notice that you were leaving the property or not renewing the lease.
- You may not owe rent if your landlord found a new tenant after you left.
- You may not owe late fees if the fees were unreasonable.
- You may not owe late fees if you were charged escalating late fees.
- You may not owe late fees if you paid rent after the date it was due, but it was within five days of the due date.
- You may not owe attorney’s fees if you were not properly notified that you would be responsible for attorney’s fees.
- You may not owe payment for physical damages to the property if the damages were the result of ordinary wear and tear.
- You may not owe payment for physical damages to the property if those damages existed before you occupied the property.
- You may not owe payment for physical damages if those damages were not caused by you.
- You may not owe any obligations whatsoever if you were forced to move due to significant, uninhabitable conditions.
When we fight these cases in Superior Court, we will not only raise any defenses that you may have, but we will evaluate any claims that you may have against your landlord. In certain cases, you may be entitled to money from your former landlord. In those cases, we will file a Complaint against the landlord as well. This claim is called a counterclaim.
If you have been sued by your former NJ landlord or if your current NJ landlord is suing you, please contact our office so that you can obtain sound legal advice before making any decisions about the case.