Georgian Gardens v. Shields

A-233-98T3 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 1999) (Unpublished)
  • Opinion Date: July 20, 1999

LANDLORD-TENANT; EVICTION—A tenant has a minimum of ten days to respond to a summary dispossess action; A landlord that accepts a new lease despite an unpaid rent balance under the prior lease can not evict the tenant for that non-payment.

A residential tenant was served with an eviction complaint on July 9, and was required to appear and defend on July 17, eight days later. At the trial, the defendant requested additional time, but the lower court, after sorting through conflicting testimony, determined that over $1,000 in rent remained due and unpaid. The amount owed included the tenant’s alleged failure to pay one month’s rent which was due for a particular month two years earlier. The Appellate Division noted that Rule 6:2-1 gives a tenant a minimum of 10 days to appear and state a defense in summary dispossess actions. In addition, the landlord was deemed to have waived the prior non-payment as a ground for eviction (although not as a debt which could be proved in a plenary action) because the tenant had accepted the new lease after the alleged unpaid month, and its landlord accepted rent under that new lease.