Q: The defendants in our case did not appear at the hearing but have now submitted intent to defend after. Is this allowed?
My spouse and I appeared at the hearing but neither defendant was present. We were prepared to discuss our case but since they did not show, the judge said there was no contest and ruled affidavit judgement that they needed to return our deposit and court fees. Now, when I search the case online to check the status, it shows they submitted intent to defend after the hearing and a trial has been set for January. We were previously told they had to submit this prior to the hearing, or at least prior to the judge ruling. We moved out of a property after 3 months due to a lack of smoke detectors which a downstairs smoking neighbor. There is nothing in the lease that said we couldn't move out. They are now insisting we should not get the deposit back because of money we owed for damages that were there before we moved in. The property was sold a week before we moved out.
A: It's odd that the court set a trial after you won an affidavit judgment. The proper procedure is usually a motion to vacate the judgment. In any event, appear at whatever date was set and prepare your case or request a continuance if necessary. You would be wise to consult with local counsel. Without seeing the file and the documents, it's hard to say why the court did what it did.
Leonard A Englander agrees with this answer
A: I've seen that happen before. Basically, if they get the Notice of Intention to Defend (NOID) in at just the right moment, the Court just decides to set a court date.
As counsel states, you will want to get all your documents in order and may want to consider looking into consulting with an attorney, either to represent you or at least give you some idea of how to proceed.
Best of luck!
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