Whether you rent living or work space to someone - or from someone - you're in a relationship founded on trust, and on laws. This Friday at the Ocean County Court House in Toms River, learn how these elements frame your rights and responsibilities.

Ocean County Justice Complex (Townsquare Media NJ)

The Ocean County Court Vicinage offers a free workshop from 10 AM until 12:30 PM, in the Jury Assembly Room, 100 Hooper Avenue.

Members of the vicinage's landlord-tenant division take part along with attorneys from South Jersey Legal Services, which maintains a branch in Toms River.

The goal is to equip landlords and renters with the facts they need to recognize and anticipate potential problems - or, if it's past that stage, to see if matters can be resolved without resorting to litigation - or, if that line's been crossed, steps to be taken in court.

Ombudsman James Castaneda says that the speakers explain matters from both perspectives, covering "the whole gamut of topics, from the landlord-tenant filing process, forms and documents involved, and what happens in a regular landlord-tenant hearing."

Castaneda adds that the recurring workshops aim to help renters and landlords resolve issues associated with rent payments and habitability.

The lawyers discuss "defenses available to [tenants] in an eviction suit," for example, "what they are entitled to in occupancy. They also talk about the landlord's rights. It is a relationship, and difficulties arise out of misunderstandings."

Attorneys cannot discuss individual cases, but will be prepared to offer contacts for referral. It is not entirely necessary to register beforehand, but space is limited. Secure a seat through the Legal Research Center, 732-929-2063 or e-mail the center through this link.

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