What is small claims court?
Small claims court is an expedited and informal court process. Tenants can consult with an attorney about their small claims court case; however, tenants must represent themselves in their small claims court hearings.
How can the Tenants Small Claims Project help?
The Tenants’ Small Claims Project provide assistance in two areas:
- Assistance to tenants sued in small claims court for COVID-19 related rental debt; and
- Assistance to tenants who are interested in suing their landlord in small claims court for violations of their tenants’ rights
See below to learn more about the Tenants’ Small Claims Project and Tenants’ Small Claims Project resource library:
ASSISTANCE TO TENANTS SUED FOR COVID-19 RENTAL DEBT IN SMALL CLAIMS:
As of November 1, 2021, tenants can be sued by their landlord for the rent they were unable to pay during the COVID-19 pandemic. A suit for COVID-19 rental debt is different than an eviction (unlawful detainer), but it is still important for tenants who receive a COVID-19 rental debt lawsuit to engage in the court process and appear at their small claims court hearing.
If you have received small claims court documents (SC-500 or SC-100 form), the Tenants Small Claims project may be able to assist you with reviewing the court documents and preparing to present at your small claims court hearing. Contact LAFLA for assistance at 800-399-4529 to apply for assistance.
To learn more about COVID-19 rental debt, attend an informational webinar held every other Tuesday from 4-5 p.m. via Zoom. Click here to register.
Tenant who have already had a small claims rental judgment entered can attend an informational webinar held on the first Wednesday of each month from 1-2 p.m. via zoom. Click her to register.
COVID-19 Rental Debt Resource Library:
- Post-Judgment Guide: After your small claims hearing
- How to Vacate a Default Judgment
- Judgment Debtor Examination Fact Sheet
- Impact of Rental Debt on Credit Report and Tenant Screening Fact Sheet
- English PDF
- Spanish PDF – coming soon
Legal Services Providers can access training and materials on COVID-19 rental debt in small claims court by downloading Small Claims Back Rent Tool Kit – Download here
ASSISTANCE TO TENANTS TO SUE THEIR LANDLORDS IN SMALL CLAIMS COURT:
Tenants can file an action in small claims court against their landlord for up to $10,000 where they believe their landlord is violating the law. Tenants are encouraged to attend the Tenant Small Claims webinar to learn more about suing their landlord for issues such as: habitability, harassment, and return of security deposit.
Tenants experiencing harassment can also reference LAFLA’S Tenant-Harassment Project page https://lafla.org/get-help/tenant-harassment/
Tenants can attend a tenants small claims webinar to learn more about their rights and how to take action in small claims court. The webinar is held every other Thursday from 1-2 p.m. via zoom. Click here to register.
Tenant Small Claims Resource Library:
More information about the small claims process –
- Tenants Small Claims Process Overview – details about the five steps of the small claims court process
- Service of Process via the LA County Sheriff
Sample forms and templates:
- Security Deposit in Small Claims Guide
The Tenant Small Claims Project provides services to tenants on housing-relating issues only. Individuals interested in other types of small claims suits can attend LACBA’s Small Claims Workshop
The Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) offers small claims advisory services, including:
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.