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You were just answering about the possibility of success if I file a suit in small claims court against the rental agency that rented me an apartment that didn't comply with the minimum requirements to be lived in.You mentioned that you could help me find a lawyer and I would like to know if I would need a lawyer to file my claim or if you suggested a lawyer to guide me through the process. On both cases I wonder about the cost of that service. Could you please give me an idea of that cost or how the lawyer support would work?
Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Legal
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9/30/2017
Lawyer: FamilyAttorney, Lawyer replied 8 months ago
FamilyAttorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1,551
Experience: Owner, attorney in private practice, appellate attorney, GAL & former trial lawyer, licensed for 37 years
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Hello and thank you for requesting me.

The usual disclaimers attach here: There is no attorney-client relationship and this is for educational purposes only.

Actually if you file in small claims and not in regular civil court, you would be without an attorney.

If you are an individual and want to file a lawsuit for $10,000 or less, you have the option of filing a small claims case or a limited civil case. In small claims court in Cal, here are the pros and cons. You're better off in small claims, where there are no lawyers.

Here are the pros and cons of filing a case in small claims vs. filing a limited civil case:

Small Claims (SC): Can NOT have a lawyer represent you. Limited Civil (LC): CAN have a lawyer represent you (but you must pay for your lawyer).

SC: Filing fees are much cheaper. LC: Filing fees can be expensive.

SC: Rules and procedures are informal and simpler. LC: Have to follow all rules and procedures required in "regular" civil cases. It can get very complicated and time-consuming.

SC: Case is decided quicker - generally within 3 months. LC: Cases can take up to a year or longer to decide.

SC drawback: Plaintiff can NOT appeal the court's decision. LC: Either side CAN appeal the court's decision.

SC: Cannot sue more than twice in one calendar year for over $2,500. LC: No limit on the number of lawsuits or amount you sue for.

SC: If you win, the court can order the losing side to pay your court fees and costs. LC: If you win, the court can order the losing side to pay your court fees and costs BUT if you filed a limited civil case when you could have filed in small claims court, the judge can decide not to order the losing side to pay for fees and costs.

SC: Have to be able to serve the defendant in California. If not, you cannot pursue your claim in small claims (with few exceptions).Can serve a defendant outside of California.

Based on all of the above, you probably want to file your case in Small Claims court and then you can proceed without a lawyer, but make sure you take photos which you will have to explain that you took them, when you took them, etc. If you have photos when you moved in, those will be invaluable, but chances are you don't. You might have photos of how it looked after a day or two there...that will still be helpful.

If you still want a lawyer, let me know, but you can do this yourself. Small claims is easy to do.

If you have a claim against the landlord for, say $3,000, a lawyer's fee is going to take up most of that. Unless you have a case for more than $10,000, it isn't usually a good idea to get a lawyer, and you can't for small claims anyway. It's just not allowed.

Did you need anymore information?

Thanks again for rating me. I just want to make sure I answered everything, so if I didn't please let me know and I'll answer whatever is left to answer.

Otherwise, thank you again, in advance, for rating me. I'll be signing off now because it's really late in the east.

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Lawyer: FamilyAttorney, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

Hi, just checking in to see if you still need help with your question and if my answer was helpful for you or if there is any more information that you need. Let me know if you need names of lawyers and I can help you if you let me know where you live.Thanks!

FamilyAttorney

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