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How Do I Prepare for Trial in Land Lord/Tenant case?

Question and Answer

How Do I Prepare for Trial in Land Lord/Tenant case?

Landlord

If you are the landlord, you must come to court and prove the statements made in the complaint are true. Arrange to have in court any witnesses you need to prove your case. A written statement, even if made under oath, cannot be used in court. Only actual in-court testimony of the witnesses will be allowed. Prepare your questions in advance.

Bring to court all records of any transactions that may help you prove your case. Such records can include:

  • Leases, estimates, bills, rent receipts or ledgers.
  • Dishonored checks.
  • Letters, photographs.
  • Other documents proving your claim

If you are the landlord and want to withdraw the complaint, immediately call the Special Civil Part Office so that they can mark the case as withdrawn and cancel any interpreter or special accommodation, if any, that may have been arranged. If you and the tenant settle the case prior to the scheduled trial date, and it is regarding a residential property, the judge might need to review and approve the settlement agreement in the event it needs to be enforced later by any of the parties.

Tenant

If you are the tenant, you don't have to file a written answer, but you must come to court and prove that the statements made by the landlord in the complaint are not true. Arrange to have in court any witnesses you need to prove your case. A written statement, even if made under oath, cannot be used in court. Only actual testimony of the witnesses, including your own testimony, will be allowed.
Bring to court all applicable records. Such records may include:

  • Rent receipts, canceled checks.
  • Leases.
  • Letters and notices to or from the landlord
  • Photographs
  • Other documents proving your case.

If you have not paid rent because the landlord did not make necessary repairs, you have to prove to the court how serious the problems are and how they are affecting your use of the rented property. If you have not paid your rent, you should bring the amount the landlord claims you owe to court. Only cash, certified check, or money order made payable to the Treasurer, State of New Jersey, is acceptable.