What should an ex-tenant/roommate do regarding a summons for unpaid rent?

UPDATED: Aug 22, 2012

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What should an ex-tenant/roommate do regarding a summons for unpaid rent?

My girlfriend got a summons for unpaid rent on an apartment that she used to share with her ex-boyfriend. She moved out over a year ago and he said he removed her from the lease. The lease renews every year in November. Even if you don’t sign the new lease renewal, it automatically renews. We just found this out. We thought that she would be off the hook because she never signed to renew it. Anyways, she can prove she’s been living elsewhere for over a year. He owes rent for the last 4 months. What is her coarse of action? Will she need to plead not guilty and go to trial or will the judge/prosecutor make a fair deal with her or even excuse her?

Asked on August 22, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey


John Ducey / Law Offices of John G. Ducey,PC

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

What is she charged with?  A criminal complaint?  I can't see a prosecutor going forward with theft charges on this because it is a civil matter.


If she gets sued in civil court she can try the defense that you speak of, not living there for a year.  But a lease is a contract and her name is on it.  There are other defenses such as did the landlord evict them di he/she re=rent it etc.

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