I am suing my landlord
Is it time to take legal action against this landlord?
Hayward Self Help Desk:
Hayward Hall of Justice
24405 Amador Street Hayward, CA
1st Floor, Department 501
East Bay Community Law Center Housing Clinic
Before you begin a small claims court process, make sure you have sent a demand letter to your landlord first asking them to remedy the situation.
California Civil Code Section 1942.5 prohibits landlords from retaliating against tenants for exercising their legal rights. Examples of exercising your rights:
- Complaining to your landlord about the conditions of your unit
- Calling and/or involving agencies to support you in getting habitable conditions in your unit
- Suing your landlord
- Winning a case against your landlord.
- For 180 days after any of these things occur, your landlord has the burden to prove that an eviction, rent increase, or decrease in housing service is not retaliatory.
Other important information:
- You can ask for up to $10,000 in a small claims action filed in the small claims division of California Superior Court.
- You can file up to two cases over $2,500 per year through small claims.
- Under the Oakland Tenant Protection Ordinance (TPO), there are increased penalties in court for TPO violations to support enhanced protections for vulnerable populations.
- These include, $2,000 for elderly or disabled tenants, $2,500 for catastrophically ill tenants, and $2,000 minimum damages for threatening to report a tenant or their guest to “any local, state, or federal agency on the basis of their perceived or actual immigration status.”
- Additionally, the Court may impose civil penalties of up to $1,000 per day for each violation of the ordinance if there is a pattern and practice. There is a statute of limitations per type of case.
- Lawyers cannot represent someone in small claims court but they can provide guidance.
- In a small claims lawsuit process, you should try and provide as much evidence as you can. This includes letters, documents, pictures, witnesses, contracts, etc.
- CA court information of small claims
You can also get legal help or find an attorney. Remember they cannot represent you in small claims court but they can provide guidance and talk through your options with you.