How to Get Ready for Small Claims Now

You are most likely reading this article because you have a tenant who owes you rent money from March 1st, 2020 through August 31st, 2020. This owed rent can be collected through small claims court as of March 1st, 2021. Although we’re still a couple of months out, there are things you can start doing now to get prepared.

How to Get Ready for Small Claims Now

The First Steps

Here’s a list of items you can start doing now so that when the time comes to file your claim, you will be 100% ready. We recommend you place all of your evidence, or items on this list, in a binder in dated order so you can easily find everything during your day in court.

  • A copy of your rental agreement. Make sure you also add copies of addendums, IDs, and all documents you acquired during the screening process.
  • Copies of the notices served to your tenant. Include photographs of the notices you posted on the rental’s door.
  • Copies of receipts for repairs and maintenance you made to the rental property.
  • Print out any electronic communication between you and your tenant such as texts, emails, etc.
  • Keep a very detailed log and summary to the best of your ability which includes dates, times of any and all conversations and issues you have had with your tenant. Include late rent payments, maintenance requests, etc. The more drama, the better!

Things to consider before going to court

It’s important to know your stuff. At the time of the writing of this article, the most current law that is being upheld in eviction/ small claims court is AB 3088. It’s imperative you familiarize yourself with it since the judge will use AB 3088 for their judgment.

The judge may also ask you questions regarding whether or not you are familiar with how the law currently sits and most likely try to throw you off guard and throw out your case. Remember that the judge is there to make his decision based on the law, not how the tenant was rude when you knocked on her door.

You can call 1-800-686-8686 or email us to help you determine which court house your hearing will take place in and also help you fill out the necessary paperwork and pay filing fees.

Your day in Court

Here are some important things to keep in mind when your day in court arrives.

  • Make sure you have three exact copies of your evidence binder nicely organized. One is for you, one for the defendant and one is for the judge.
  • Make sure you dress professionally.
  • Arrive at least 1 hour early. On rare occasions, court is ahead of schedule and you’ll get your case heard quicker. This also gives you time to go over your notes one last time and rehearse what you will say to the judge.
  • Make sure you are polite and respectful to everyone. Speak nice and loud with precise answers only when the judge speaks to you directly and always address the judge as “Your Honor.” Last but not least, never interrupt anyone. This includes the bailiff, the judge or the defendant.

What happens after your court hearing?

After the judge has heard both sides of the story, the judge will dismiss you in a very non climatic way. He or she will usually say “this case has concluded” and you will be shuffled out.

The parties involved in the case will be notified via regular mail the verdict of the case. The judgement awarded to the landlord is good for 10 years and can be renewed.

Fast Law Group specializes in the handling of small claims preparation and service from the filing of the matter, serving the necessary paperwork and preparing you for the hearing. We are also a full service collection company and will collect on your judgment at no out of pocket cost to you. Fast Law Group will take a percentage from what is collected based  on a 60/40 split. You get 60%, we collect 40%.

Please contact our office today for assistance or questions to get your matter started and prepared for March 1st, 2021.