Fill out forms to start a COVID-19 rental debt small claims case

To start a COVID-19 rental debt small claims case, you must first fill out court forms.

Before you start

If you need help

illustration of someone asking for help

Contact a Small Claims Advisor. Most courts have a Small Claims Advisor, someone who gives free legal information about small claims cases.  You can also get a lot of information in COVID-19 Rental Debt in Small Claims Court (form SC-500-INFO)

Write down what you did to help your tenant obtain government rental assistance

If you're owed COVID-19 rental debt, you will need to show that you made a good faith effort to help your tenant obtain rental assistance before filing a small claims case. This can mean investigating whether any programs are still accepting applications.

How to fill out forms to start a small claims case

  • Fill out forms

    You must fill out:

    • Plaintiff's Claim and Order to Go to Small Claims Court (COVID-19 Rental Debt) (form SC-500) 

    This form tells the court who you are, who you're suing, how much COVID-19 rental debt you're owed, and why you're suing in this county. You'll need to list how much rental debt your tenant owes for each month and any money you've already been paid.

    On this form, you must list the proper legal name of your tenant (called the defendant). If you don't, you might not be able to collect the money if you win. Learn how to name the Defendant.

    If you need more space to add other plaintiffs or are suing more defendants, also fill out:

    • Other Plaintiffs or Defendants (COVID-19 Rental Debt) (form SC-500A)

    If you are a business with a Fictitious Business Name, also fill out:

    Generally in a small claims case, you must go to court to represent yourself. You can't have a lawyer represent you. There are a few exceptions when you can have someone else (not a lawyer) represent you. For example, if you own a rental property and have a property manager, you can have your property manager represent you in small claims court.

    Have your property manager fill out and sign an Authorization to Appear (form SC-109)
  • Give proof of efforts to help tenant obtain rental assistance

    Attach any papers you have that show you tried to help your tenant obtain rental assistance or describe what you did. This could be a copy of any emails or texts you've sent or notes you took while on the phone. 

  • Find out if there are any local forms to fill out

    Some courts have additional local forms they require you to use.   

    Contact your court clerk’s office, check your court’s website, or talk to the Small Claims Advisor to ask if they have any local forms you need to use. 

  • Make copies of your forms

    Make 1 copy for you and 1 copy for each tenant you’re suing. So you’ll have the original and at least 2 copies.

Small claims

What's next?

After you've filled out and made copies of your forms, you will need to file them with the court.

success alert banner:

Have a question about Small claims?

Look for a "Chat Now" button in the right bottom corner of your screen. If you don’t see it, disable any pop-up/ad blockers on your browser.