Tenant Small Claims
The Tenant Small Claims Project provides resources and support to tenants in small claims court to: Assist tenants sued in small claims court for COVID-19 rental debt; and assist tenants suing their landlords in small claims court for violation of their tenants’ rights.
Click here for coronavirus-related updates and resources.
Haga clic aquí para obtener actualizaciones y recursos sobre coronavirus.
Assistance for tenants sued for COVID-19 back rent in small claims:
Starting November 1, 2021, tenants can be sued by their landlord for rent that they were unable to pay during the COVID-19 pandemic. Protections enacted by the state legislature ensure that tenants who pay 25% of their back rent from September 2020 to September 2021 cannot be evicted. However, tenants still must pay back the remaining unpaid rent. This back rent is converted to consumer debt that landlords can sue to collect in small claims court.
Small claims court is an informal and expedited court process. Tenants can consult with an attorney about their small claims court case; however, attorneys are not allowed to represent clients in the small claims hearing. This means tenants sued for COVID-19 rental debt must represent themselves in the small claims court hearing.
LAFLA provides workshops where tenants can learn:
- What protections apply to COVID-19 rental debt
- How to defend themselves in the small claims hearing
- How to counter sue their landlord for issues such as habitability or harassment
Informational webinars on COVID-19 rental debt are held every other Tuesday from 4–5 p.m. via Zoom. Click here to register.
If you have received small claims court documents for COVID-19 Rental Debt (Form SC-500), contact LAFLA for assistance at 800-399-4529.
Legal services providers can also get more information and training on small claims and COVID-19 rental debt: Download the toolkit here.
Assistance for tenants suing landlords for violation of their rights in small claims court:
Small claims court is an expedited and informal way for tenants to assert their rights in court. In small claims court, litigants can sue for up to $10,000. Both parties in the small claims lawsuit must represent themselves in court.
Tenants can attend a Tenant Small Claims webinar to learn more about their rights as a tenant and how to take action in small claims court. LAFLA provides workshops where tenants can learn about suing for issues including:
- Return of security deposit
The Tenant Small Claims webinar is held every other Thursday from 1–2 p.m via Zoom. Click here to register.
Tenants interested in filing a small claims case can also review the following resources:
- Small claims pocket guides
- Services of small claims documents
- Security deposit pro per guides (guides with template demand letters and sample small claims forms to assist tenants seeking return of their security deposit)
Additional support and assistance in small claims is available from the Los Angeles County Small Claims Advisor:
LAFLA provides small claims assistance to tenants on housing-related issues only. Individuals interested in other small claims suits can attend LACBA’s Small Claims Workshop.
Get Help in Your Language
COVID-19 Back Rent Informational Webinar (Zoom)
Second and fourth Mondays, 1:00–2:00 p.m.
Call 800-399-4529 to register.
Tenant Small Claims Webinar (Zoom)
First and third Thursdays, 1:00–2:00 p.m.
Call 800-399-4529 to register.