Small claims court — “The People’s Court” — can be a valuable dispute resolution tool for the homeowner. It is inexpensive, readily available, and cases can often be heard in a matter of weeks instead of years. Starting in 2004, homeowners throughout California have won cases in small claims court. They were able to win by observing the basics of using the courts.
Remember: associations too are able to use small claims court for specific purposes, e.g. to recover homeowner assessments they believe are owed.
1. To be successful in small claims, the homeowner needs to know
- What HOA issues are permitted by law in small claims court and the laws governing each issue
- Small claims court procedures
- Basic rules of evidence (is the evidence relevant? credible? complete? true?)
2. Public resources available to help prepare a small claims suit
3. CCHAL resources for preparing a small claims lawsuit on HOA issues
4. HOA issues permitted by law in small claims court
- Association Records Overview
- Elections and Voting Overview
- First Amendment Rights Overview
- Master List/Pay Under Protest
- Small Claims Court Q & A