Small Claims -Mediation or Litigation-

COVID-19 Rental Debt in Small Claims Court

Beginning November 1, 2021, a landlord has the option to bring an action in small claims court to recover COVID-19 rental debt that is more than the normal limits for small claims actions. The purpose of bringing these claims to small claims court is to resolve disputes about COVID-19
rental debt. The small claims court cannot determine possession of residential property or evict a tenant from the property.

This is an action to recover the covid-19 rental debt as defined under the Code of Civil Procedure, § 1179.02. Access to records, in this case, is limited under the Code of Civil Procedure, § 1161.2.5. 

Our Fees  - Negotiable


Forms and Document Preparation Process:

Initial letter to request to solve the matter, Court forms complexion, court cost waiver forms completion, filing, serving, POS, case preparation, document gathering, evidence, phone calls, text, emails, and copy services costs.

  • Note: Court fees are the client's responsibility.

What is a Small Claim Court?

Small Claims Court is a simple court where you can try and resolve disputes without the high legal cost and fast.  The hearing is informal. There is no jury. Parties represent themselves without lawyers. Small Claims Court handles civil cases asking for $10,000 or less.

Due to the  COVID-19 impact, landlords will be able to file  Small Claims  over 

If you file a case, you are called the Plaintiff. The person you sue is the Defendant.  

Are there time limits to file my case?
Yes. If your case is not filed in time, the Judge can dismiss it. You must file your case before:

  • Written contract – four years from the date the contract was broken;
  • Oral contract – two years from the date the contract was broken;
  • Personal injury – two years from the date of injury or from the date you discovered you were injured;
  • Property damage – three years from the date the damage happened;
  • Fraud – three years from the date you discover you were defrauded.

For the status of limitations in California, Please, visit the California Court Website.

Can I bring a lawyer to small claims court?

California is one of the handfuls of states, including  Michigan, and Nebraska, where you must appear in small claims court on your own. Even in the states where it's allowed, hiring a lawyer is rarely cost-efficient. Most lawyers charge too much compared to the relatively modest amounts of money involved in small claims disputes.

Why Proof of Service is super important?

In the United States, suing someone, or taking them to court for some other legal action, requires that they be notified that the legal action has been initiated, and just what that action is. This is done by providing them with a copy of the official legal documents filed with the court in a specific manner, called “service of process.” The person or entity instigating the action, the “plaintiff,” is then required to provide proof that the other party, the “defendant,” has been properly served by filing a Proof of Service form with the court. For more about it,  go to   California Courts information.

SOS Ayuda Legal offers  Registered Process Server services.  Please call us for more information

What small claims cases can be filed?

  • Landlord/Tenant disputes over the security deposit.
  • Landlord/Tenant disputes over unpaid rent, or damage to property.
  • Landlord/Tenant disputes over early termination of the lease.
  • Roommate disputes.
  • Disputes over loans. (friends/relatives)
  • Contracts (written and verbal).
    Auto accidents.
  • Disputes over auto repairs.
  • Emotional Distress
  • Disputes over remodeling or home repairs (disputes with contractors).
  • TV will not work, and the store refuses to fix it or replace it.
  • Damage caused to property.
  • Unpaid bills.
                                                                                                           Submission of all small claims-related filings

    Orange County

     Los Angeles County          San Diego County

Mediate before you file an small claim suit.

The mediator is there to help the parties make a deal, not decide who is right or wrong. He is impartial and works in the best interests of both parties.  In California approximately 85% of civil cases settle out of court. As is our experience the majority of cases that go to mediation are settled.  Others settle outside of mediation. Parties are always free to discuss settlement informally, as well as during formal mediation or settlement conferences.     We had other cases which settled only after multiple mediation sessions. The fact that your case did not settle at the mediation does not mean that you can not ultimately achieve a settlement. However, it is not at all unusual for a mediation to be unsuccessful. If it is the case then you can file a Small Claim suit.

What If We Can’t  Settle Outside the Court Through Mediation?

You Have to File a Small Claim.

Tired of trying to resolve a money/property or another issue directly with the respondent but haven't reached an agreement yet?  We tried mediation after but it failed to provide a mutually agreeable settlement.  Both parties can still go to court to be reviewed and decided by a judge.  Again, even if the case needs to be submitted to a court after mediation, this does not mean that the mediation was not successful; many smaller issues may have been discussed and resolved in mediation, despite the parties’ failure to settle.

Small claims court allows people to bring relatively minor claims before a judge without incurring a considerable expense. Attorneys are not allowed to practice in Small Claims Court. This means that you need to effectively represent yourself. By its very nature, a small claims court is a simple, inexpensive, and reasonably fast alternative.

The maximum amount an individual can sue for in Small Claims Court in California is $10,000. For businesses, the limit is $5,000. If you file multiple cases in a calendar year, only two of them can be for more than $2,500.

If you would like to know more about  the Small Claim Process in California, please  Click Here

SOS Ayuda Legal‘s certified and bonded legal documents assistants and mediators will assist you with either, mediating your case for an out-of-court settlement, or helping you to complete, file, and serve the appropriate courts for the litigation process Contact Us to schedule a 30-minute Q & A.

How to Contact Us


               Hablamos Español 

                             PHONE:                               (949) 326- 6612



600 W Santa Ana Blvd, Suite 206,    Santa Ana, CA 92701

Across from The Federal Building 

Monday - Friday: 9 AM-5 PM Saturday: Pre-Pay appointment ONLY

Sunday: Closed


Forms of Payments



SOS Ayuda Legal is ready to assist you, per your request, with the preparation of your legal documents. Give us a call at (949) 326-6612 or submit the contact form.

    Please, do not include confidential information in your message. Thanks


    Communications between you and  SOS Ayuda Legal are protected by our Privacy Policy but not by the attorney-client privilege or as work product.  We provide access to independent attorneys and self-help services in your specific direction. We are not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. We cannot provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, or selection of forms, or strategies. Your access to the website is subject to our Terms of Use.