How to file forms with the court
Take your forms to the court clerk
Check the Find My Court to find the courthouse in your county that accepts small claims filings.
At the courthouse, you’ll file the forms by giving the original and all the copies to the clerk.
The clerk will give you a case number, court date, and stamp the forms. The court will keep the original and return the copies to you. One is for you, the other copies are for your tenants.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 forms) and a self-addressed stamped envelope so the clerk can mail your copies back to you. If you don't include a self-addressed stamped envelope you will 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 by visiting your court’s website.
Pay a filing fee
Pay a fee to the clerk when you file your forms.
- $30 if you're suing for $1,500 or less
- $50 if you're suing for over $1,500 but less than or equal to $5,000
- $75 if you're suing for over $5,000
If you've filed more than 12 small claims cases in the past 12 months, your fee is $100.
If you can’t afford the fee, you can fill out forms to ask the clerk 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
Start your small claims case
Once you’ve filed the form, the next step is to share the form with your tenant. You need to follow a specific process to do this called serving papers.