I am facing non payment summary process. I have since paid all back rent and am currently 4 days behind on January rent but will be able to pay that before months end. How do I defend myself in court? I never received a notice to quit but the claim I did. They also claimed on summary process form I hadn’t paid in month and owed more than I did. In reality I had paid them more recently and have receipts.
Something is a little off about your question, but I'll try to answer it anyway.
1) You say you have paid all back rent and are only currently four days behind on January rent (question posted January 04, 2020) but will be able to pay that before months end....
a) I assume you already have a Court date scheduled right? Do you have a written lease? When was your "Answer Date"? These are important because you have the right to reinstate your tenancy, under a written lease, if you paid everything that was owed PLUS all Court costs prior to the "Answer Date".
b) But based on what you wrote, it appears you are a month to month tenant who was previously served a notice to quit within the last twelve (12) months, which means "technically", you don't have the right to cure the notice and automatically reinstate your Tenancy.
2) With all that said, I would do everything in your power to pay off everything that is actually owed (not necessarily what they claim per-se) but everything INCLUDING January's Rent, that way you can show the Judge that they currently have no reason to evict you as everything is paid in full. What you cannot do is go to Court and tell them that everything is paid except for January's rent... even though not late (must be 30 days' plus for late fees..) its still owed and is still grounds to evict you.
3) Bring with you every receipt you possibly can from the last twelve months. If for example, your rent is $600.00 per month, you should really bring to Court receipts totaling $7,800.00 (because your including January 2020 rent payment therein). Don't care if you were short one month or paid more one month, it must total $7,800.00 or better.
4) If you claim you never received a notice to quit before, they have to prove that you did. NOT that you actually went to Court before or that they were thinking about serving you the Notice...but that they actually did AND HAVE PROOF OF SERVICE. Again, showing full payment of everything should make this second part moot.
5) If you can show proof (not just your word, but actual physical proof) that you paid what is owed, the Court should dismiss the summary process action. If you can't... good luck!
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline