What to do if I plan on countersuing for an unlawful detainer?

UPDATED: Aug 21, 2011

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What to do if I plan on countersuing for an unlawful detainer?

I have been served with an unlawful detainer for not paying rent 3 months. I didn’t pay because I couldn’t use my shower, tub and the toilet in the apartment above me had a toilet that leaked down on to my toilet on a daily basis. The landlord knew of the repairs for the 3 months in question and just made the repairs on last week. I was served with an eviction 3 days later. I want to countersue and need to know can this be my answer when I appear in court or do I have to let the landlord’s attorney know I am planning to countersue in advance?

Asked on August 21, 2011 Indiana


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you have been served with a summons and complant in an unlawful detainer action, you have a limited time to serve your answer and a cross complaint against the landlord. You need to assert as an affirmative defense to the complaint the poor conditions of the unit and the fact that you were overpayng for the unit given its condition.

To get a format for an answer and cross complaint you can go online in your state under the heading "unlawful detainer action" and your search engine should get some decent "hits".

In your cross complaint, you need to specifically mention the poor conditions of the unit being rented and the landlord's failure to rectify and the need for you to make the corrections.

Good luck.

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