Small Claims Court


Merced County Courthouse Cupola (1875)

Small claims court — “The People’s Court” — can be a valuable enforcement 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?)

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