How Do I File a Liability Claim Against My Landlord?

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If certain conditions are met you can file a liability claim against your landlord. Learn how to file a liability claim against your landlord with help from a licensed attorney and licensed California real estate broker in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Renting FAQs
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Nic McGrue and I'm an attorney at Polymath Legal located in Los Angeles, California. If you are a tenant and you are having problems with your landlord, filing a lawsuit may be one way to resolve them. Now before you file a lawsuit, just talk with your landlord, simply communicating with them and letting them know what your problems are may resolve them and probably will resolve them in a much quicker manner. When you talk with them tell them what your problems are and what your complaints are and let them know that you want them to take actions about them. Now if talking with them doesn't resolve it, then filing a liability claim may just do so. Before you file a lawsuit, you must first have a cause of action. The cause of action is basically your grievance that you have against your landlord. Now a common cause of action is breech of lease but some other ones could include failure to repair or failure to maintain the premises in a matter in which the landlord is supposed to. Now once you have your cause of action or causes of action, you must then draft the complaint. Now before drafting the complaint you should check your local court's website. They often have forms or example complaints that can assist you and make the process much simpler. In the complaint you basically state your name and your landlord's name and your causes of action. What the complaint does is it lets your landlord know the problems that you're having with them and how you like them to be resolved. Additionally it puts them on notice that they are in fact being sued. Once you have your complaint drafted, you must file it with the court in your jurisdiction that also has jurisdiction over your landlord. Usually a court that's in the same area as your rental unit, will also have jurisdiction over your landlord. Now filing rules for each jurisdiction are often different so call your local court and ask them what the filing procedure is. Generally you can file your complaint by going to the court and filing it with the court clerk. Some jurisdictions also allow you to file it by faxing it to the court clerk and even some are more advanced and allow electronic filing which means you log on to a website and upload the complaint document on the court's website. Once you have your complaint filed, you must then serve your landlord. The proper way to serve your landlord is through personal service. Personal service means that someone over the age of 18 who is not a party to the lawsuit must physically deliver the complaint to your landlord. Now once you've filed the complaint and served your landlord, you have just started a lawsuit. Once again my name is Nic McGrue and this has been how to file a liability claim against your landlord.


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