|601 Court Street|
|Woodland, CA 95695|
Small Claims Court is an excellent way for the average person to seek justice in disputes involving relatively small amounts of money ($7,500 or less in California). In small claims court, neither party can bring an attorney! Each party may receive help and advice from an attorney during preparations, but in court, no attorneys (unless the plaintiff or defendant are themselves attorneys) are allowed.
From the Wikipedia entry: Small claims courts are courts of limited jurisdiction that hear civil cases between private litigants. The business of small claims courts typically encompasses small private disputes in which large amounts of money are not at stake. The routine collection of small debts forms a large portion of the cases brought to small claims courts, as well as evictions and other disputes between landlord and tenant unless the jurisdiction is already covered by a tenancy board.
(Drawn from the pathetically outdated Superior Court of California, Yolo County, Small Claims Court web page and from the current California Courts Self-Help: Small Claims web page.)
Where can I receive Small Claims assistance?
The Small Claims Advisor is available for assistance with small claims questions. To reach the Small Claims advisor for Yolo County, please call 530-752-4304, Monday and Wednesday 2-4pm; and Tuesday and Thursday 3-5pm.
How much can I sue for in Small Claims Court?
An individual cannot ask for more than $7,500 in a claim. Corporations and other entities (like, government entities) cannot ask for more than $5,000. You can file as many claims as you want for up to $2,500 each. But you can only file 2 claims in a calendar year that ask for more than $2,500.
(Please note that the Superior Court of California, Yolo County, Small Claims Court FAQ has incorrect & misleading information on this topic. Please see this page for the current, correct answer.)
How do I file a claim?
Some of the forms needed to file a claim can be obtained in the forms section on the website or at 601 Court Street, Dept. 10., Woodland CA. However, you're best off starting at this site: California Courts Self-Help: Small Claims
Nolo Press, based in Berkeley, CA, is a well-regarded publisher of self-help legal books, including Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court in California. You may be able to buy this book from the following vendors:
- Bogey's Books (in Davis)
- The Avid Reader (in Davis)
- Nolo Press
- Powell's Books (eBook Paperback)
You may also be able to find this book and/or related materials at the Yolo County Library, at UC Davis' Shields Library, and at the UC Davis Law Library.
2011-03-08 17:57:43 Important question, and maybe there are some lawyers here who can help me out. We have a roommate who moved out for a job elsewhere in the state. She is on the lease with us until August 31. She has not been able to find a replacement for the room (and we have been looking, too). She is now threatening to stop paying rent - this will add up to $2350 by the end of the lease and clearly we cannot cover that. Is small claims the best way to recover rent money from her?
As a side note, she is also refusing to contribute anything to utilities bills. Our WSG and internet bills stay the same whether there are two people here or three people here (and PG&E didn't change much either) - doesn't seem fair to me, since I signed a lease with the understanding that I would be splitting bills with two people, not one.
- We emailed our landlord for advice and have not yet heard back. We don't have the Davis Model Lease, but it looked like her dad signed it as a guarantor, so we'll see if he'll be more responsible than she is. The agreement was that SHE would be responsible for finding a replacement since she is the one who moved out, but we have been posting ads and meeting people too. Lots of emails to prove that. We'll see what happens... —MeggoWaffle
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