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How can I defend against an ejectment in New Jersey

Collingswood, NJ |
Filed under: Lawsuits and disputes

I moved in with a friend of mine a few years ago and have been paying half the rent. I have had trouble paying him on time pretty often but always made up for it. Recently things got ugly and he told me he wants me to leave. I am not on the lease, I just have a bedroom and Verizon bill in my name. He just sent me notice that he filed for an "ejectment" which he says that I am not a legal tenant, but just a friend or family member staying with him that refuses to leave. I sent him an email recently that I put my half of rent in escrow since he's taking me to court. I am pretty sure that I have just as much of a right to stay here as he does but he is starting to sound very convincing. He says that in about 2-3 weeks I will be escorted out by police with court order

The notice he gave me, he included a copy of the form from the court telling about ejectments. It says: It is an ejectment if: No legal lease agreement No legal rights to the property Friend or family member that won't get out ****does not matter if they give money****

Attorney Answers 1


  1. Ejectment is a legal process by which someone is removed from premises who is not a tenant but living in the space. If you are not on the lease, I do not think you can defend against the lawsuit. The fact that you paid a portion of the rent may make the court consider you a 'subtenant' but that is a very iffy possibility. Certainly you should confer with a tenant attorney in Camden County to learn what defenses if any you have. By the way, if the tenant has no authority from the Landlord to sublease, it makes your position even more tenuous.

    On my profile there are several legal guides. I recommend reviewing the following which may be helpful to you:

    Hiring a lawyer; Is it Legal? Is it Illegal?...Understanding the different court systems;
    Introduction to Legal terms used in litigation; Limitations on a Lawyer’s License: What a Lawyer Can and Cannot Do……………………………..…………………………..

    Landlord Tenant Rules and Requirements in General and in New Jersey,
    Landlord Tenant Litigation: Eviction, Other Lawsuits in General and in New Jersey

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER…………………………………………………………………..
    Mr. Sarno is licensed to practice law in NJ and NY. His response here is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter in question. Many times the questioner may leave out details which would make the reply unsuitable. Mr. Sarno strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their own state to acquire more information about this issue.