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The Small Claims section is a court in which you may sue someone (the defendant) to collect a 'small' amount of money that you believe is owed to you. Because procedures in Small Claims are simpler than in other courts, persons usually can file and present their cases relatively quickly and inexpensively, and often without an attorney.

You may be able, or be forced, to take your tenant or landlord to Court to resolve issues such as
normal wear and tear charges, fees, non-payment of rent or early lease termination. We should all try to avoid this by knowing what we (both Landlord and Tenant) are agreeing to when we agree to accepting and paying rent. Both parties are obligated to each other.

Be sure to have completely thought through the circumstances of the events that bring you to this decision. Fully document the details as well as a summary. Have receipts, pictures or any other items to back-up your claim.

If you are scheduled to go to court, be sure to show on that day and time. Failure to show usually results in a judgment for the other party.

Many states and courts have a district Landlord-Tenant Court to handle Tenant-Landlord disputes. Those that do not, you proceed in Small Claims Court. Small Claims Court normally handles matters less then a certain dollar amount, typically under $5000 or less. Check with your local court for details.  See our Guide to Small Claims Books

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