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The management company, aka Salem Management, served me

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notice in October that my...
The management company, aka Salem Management, served me notice in October that my lease had been terminated for violations and to move out by December 1, 2017. Their findings are false therefore I went on the defensive and filed my own lawsuit on November 29, 2017 when they refused my December rent payment.FYI: In my lawsuit I addressed the Defendant as the person who signed the Lease Termination papers, stating he was the "Landlord". i.e., "Paul Donovan". So in my papers I put "Paul Donavan dba Salem Management Company" as Defendant. This may have been incorrect as I have not heard back from the Court as to a court date. The papers WERE served however.Then Yesterday I received court papers via regular mail from the management company regarding my Eviction. They noted the Plaintiff to be "Montclair Arms" (Name of this particular property where I reside - which is one of many they own or manage) In the papers there was NO notation of my lawsuit filed and served to them. According to the documents, they have hired a lawyer to represent them. I have to appear 01/23/17 to defend myself.I am perplexed as to what I should do. What happened to the lawsuit I filed? Did I address the Defendant incorrectly therefore it was dismissed? How do I bring that up in court when I have to appear on 01/23/17 to defend my eviction - when in reality, THEY are in violation of the terms of my lease as my lawsuit implies. Strange but although they have refused my December rent payment TWICE - I keep getting notices to PAY the rent along with LATE FEES.SIDE NOTE: I am a 77 y.o. widow with an upcoming surgery for my hip. Does that play a part in this?
Submitted: 6 months ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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12/30/2017
Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 13,288
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
of course, I live in New Jersey, Essex County
Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago

Thank you very much for your patience. So, you have a couple of options. One of the options you have is that you can go to the clerk's office and find out what happened to your documents. They will let you know if there was a problem with the filing or if they just haven't put the documents into the system yet or if they have just yet to assign a court date.

Assuming there's no problem, in your response to the complaint regarding your eviction, you should respond with an answer, but then also make a motion for joinder. Joinder occurs when there are two or more legal issues that need to be consolidated into one. In addition, if you need to add/amend a party name, you can usually do so without permission from the court so you should also include on that same document an amendment to your original claim. All three of these maneuvers should be on the same document. This way, regardless of whether the court somehow found your previous suit defective, you'll be able to have your defenses and counterclaim available to you. You should file that with the court and serve it on the other party.

As far as your age and your disability, it may score you some sympathy, but that depends heavily on the judge. Did you have any other questions for me at all today?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Thank you for your quick response. In looking at the documents served to me - there is no place that allows me to "answer". - On the Summons: "If you want the court to hear your side of he case you must appear in court on 01/23/18"How do I go about filing an answer? Also, what language or "form" do I use to make a "motion for joinder". As a very smart lady, I'm comfortable with filing papers but do you think I need legal representation to assure I'm filing correctly? and also the Plaintiff has hired an attorney to represent them?
Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago

I see. Without seeing all of the instructions for the summons, I couldn't tell you for sure; however, typically an answer is common when you have been sued. Answers aren't required if you make an appearance in court and because most tenants that are being sued don't understand what they need to do, the court may just be saying basically, "Come to court because you probably don't know how to write a responsive pleading."

With that said, there's nothing that prohibits you from responding to this lawsuit. You can start by using 28-line pleading paper (attached) to draft everything. Your local courthouse may require some forms for any of these, but you'd have to check with them because it varies by county. In the heading of the document, you can put that it is your Answer with your affirmative defenses, the request for joinder, and your request to amend your original complaint as to the name of the parties. The judge will probably clear it all up on 1/23/18 once you get to the hearing.

Did you have any other questions for me today?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Thank you. Just one more thing: I want to explain the reason for their attempt to Evict me.When I moved into the building with my brother we were the only two occupants. My brother was committed to a hospital therefore I had no way to pay the rent of $2,200.00. So, I put an ad on AirBnB and was able to acquire a few people until I obtained another roommate. But a few weeks later, it was reported to the management (which are off site) regarding my AirBnB ad and ordered me to CEASE ! which I did immediately. Then a few weeks later, I hosted a Wine Tasting whereby 11 ladies attended. Because there are NO signs on any floor as to the location of apartments, I put up a "sign" pointing to my apartment. The following day, the management served me a FINAL notice stating that I was "continuing" to allow unauthorized occupants into the building - noting the date of my party. and by putting up a "sign" I was causing a security issue to other tenants. The notice said my Lease had been TERMINATED and I was to vacate in 30 days. In a futile attempt to clear up the error, explaining I had no other occupants in my apt - that the women were my guests - the secretary's nasty retort was, "We don't care; we no longer trust you. We're going ahead with the eviction." That's when I decided to go on the Offense and file a lawsuit.My question is: If I CEASED to commit any violation, are they still entitled to EVICT me? And can they KEEP my security deposit. Also, Who is my accuser? Where is their proof? They are an off-site management company. Who is going to appear in court as a witness for them? I have friends, family, out of town guests pay me a visit from time to time which management is calling "unauthorized occupants" . That is their only premise to EVICT me! How do I defend myself? Now you know the WHOLE story.
Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago

I'm sorry to hear about that. So, they can make the argument that you violated the lease terms giving them the righ to evict you, but they'll have to convince a judge that despite all of your actions, they still were within their rights to do such a thing. They won't be able to keep your security deposit as they need to return it to you. Your accuser will probably be the landlord or whoever they assign to fight the lawsuit. As far as their proof, it'll be up to them to try to make the case and be persuasive, but stand your ground on the fact that you operated in good faith and complied substantially with the agreement. if you have witnesses as well, have them clear their calendar because if it goes to trial or if the judge would like to speak with them, it'll help if they show up.

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