File the eviction Summons and Complaint forms

Once you fill out your forms, you need to file them with the court and pay a filing fee. 

Before you start

If you haven't already, make copies of the forms and any attachments before you go to court to file them. You’ll need the original for the court to keep, a copy for you, and a copy for every tenant or others you know live in the home. 

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If your case is based on COVID-19 rental debt, make sure you filled out the verification about rental assistance on the Plaintiff's Mandatory Coversheet (form UD-101). If you didn't, starting October 1, 2021, the clerk can't process (issue) your Summons form. You need the court to issue the Summons to start your case.

How to file eviction forms with the court

  • Take your forms to the court clerk's office

    Go to the superior court in the county where your rental home is located. This will be the superior court you already wrote on the forms.

    At the courthouse, you’ll file the forms you filled out by giving the original and the copies to a clerk at the clerk’s office. 

    Yes, you can file by mail. Mail the original and 2 copies to the clerk. You need to include the filing fee (or fee waiver request) and a self-addressed stamped envelope so the clerk can mail your copies back to you. Make sure to include enough postage. If you don't include a self-addressed stamped envelope, you'll have to go to the courthouse to pick up your copies.

    Some courts allow online filing. You can find out if your court has online filing (efiling) on your court's website.

  • Pay a filing fee

    You’ll need to pay a fee of $240-$450 to the clerk when you file your forms.  

    If you can’t afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver. You qualify for a fee waiver if:  

    • You receive public benefits  

    • Your income is less than a set amount 

    • You can’t afford the fee and meet your basic needs 

    There is a range of filing fees depending on how much you are suing for.

    • If you are suing your tenant for less than $10,000 the fee is typically $240
    • If you are suing your tenant for between $10,000 up to $25,000 the fee is typically $385
    • If you are suing your tenant for $25,000 or more the fee is typically $450

    San BernardinoSan Francisco, and Riverside counties have different fees. 

  • Get your filed forms back from the clerk

    The clerk will stamp all the forms, keep the original and return the copies to you. Keep one copy for your records. You’ll have the other copies delivered to each tenant by a legal process called serving.

Eviction

What's next?

Next, you'll have the Summons and Complaint delivered to each tenant through a process called service or serving papers. This lets the tenant(s) know that you're starting an eviction case.