Using Small Claims Court
Yes, it’s now online! [The links to it are at the end of this NewsBrief.] “Using Small Claims Court to Access HOA Records, to Challenge Elections, to Recover Disputed Charges” is now on the CCHAL website. This is the video recording of CCHAL’s July 25 workshop at California State University Fullerton. More than 60 homeowners attended.
Attorney Bill Tanner, the Small Claims Court Advisor for Orange County, and Attorney Tina Rasnow, consultant to the Administrative Office of the Courts, are the trainers. CCHAL President Marjorie Murray gives the legislative history of these new consumer rights created by the California Legislature. This is a TWO HOUR video divided into two major topics: UNDERSTANDING THE LAW and PREPARING AND PRESENTING YOUR CASE. Each video is subdivided into four clips. Topics for each section are listed alongside the clips so you can choose the clip you want to view. SOME of the topics in the four-part section on “Understanding the Law” include:
- Need for studying the law and governing documents. Association records: definitions. Enhanced HOA records — what are they? Privacy rights of homeowners. Legal invoices. Can the HOA charge for records? www.calhomelaw.org/doc.asp?id=855. Redacting records. Process for requesting records. Director access to records. Misusing HOA records. Getting membership lists. Enforceability of CC&Rs. Power of small claims to enforce the law. Assembling evidence/records for your case. Asking for money damages.
- Pay under protest letter. Recovering disputed sums in small claims. What if HOA refuses to accept payment? Suing to force HOA/management co./debt collector to accept payment. Types of assessments. Elections to set assessments. Election Operating Rules: Civil Code 1357.100. Choosing the Inspector of elections: who does it?
SOME of the many topics in the clips on “Preparing and Presenting Your Case” are
- Which court forms do I use – are there special forms for an HOA case? Using the small claims court subpoena. Suing the right person/entity. Should I get a lawyer to help me or should I be my own lawyer? Can I get attorney fees reimbursed? Resources need to prepare and present a case.
- Role of the county small claims advisor. Asking for money damages — should I? What the law says about damages. Serving the lawsuit on the defendant — who does it? If I lose, do I pay? What is the defendant appeals the court decision?
- Types of small claims court judges. Observing the court procedures — should I? Asking the court for specific remedies, e.g. to order a ballot re-count. When does the judge decide?&