month to month lease I own my home, had a verbal agreement with a roommate (&…

month to month lease
I own my home, had a verbal agreement with a roommate (& $550 security; she moved in 4/1/06) that she pay the cleaning lady every 6 weeks and give me 30 days notice before vacating. Late November she told me she’d be moving out over the month of December. On 11/29/06 I reminded her that it was her turn to pay the cleaning lady and she sent me several emails that day saying that she was not paying the cleaning lady again and would be moving out ASAP. (She already paid December’s rent). She moved out on 12/1/06, locked the bedroom door and refuses to return the keys to the bedroom and the house. She left me a note and voice mail messages, stating that she won’t return the keys until I returned her security and December’s rent. I left her voicemails stating that I can’t return any money until I get the keys.

Now she’s suing me for December’s rent $550, her security $550, filing fees and items (a shower curtain, I’m assuming) left at the house for a total of $1,224.

She still has NOT returned the keys.

Can I counter sue her for January’s rent?

Can I deduct the $50 cleaning fee of November 29 & the price of a locksmith?

Thank you; I appreciate your time and assistance. My phone number is 609-731-3987

One thought on “month to month lease I own my home, had a verbal agreement with a roommate (&…

  1. Re: month to month lease
    First, if you are being sued, you must file an answer to the suit. If you do not do that, she will win no matter how much is in your favor. The court will simply assume that her claim is valid because you did not answer it.

    When you or your lawyer answers, you should file a counterclaim for anything that you believe that she owes you including rent for January and continuing until she gives you possession of the room. You must do that because under the rules of court you must raise all related claims against each other in the same suit.

    (You will find this paragraph confusing because of the last sentence.) You or your lawyer should also consider filing a parallel suit in landlord/tenant court for possession of the premises. There are tactical reasons for doing that which are too complex to mention here. You should also discuss with your lawyer the issue of changing the locks on the house and charging the tenant.

    Call if I can be of further help.

    See also:

    John Corbett
    Corbett Law Firm LLC
    303 Walnut Ave.
    Evesham, NJ 08053-7016

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