Table of Contents
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Preface - Home Page
Foreword - by Ken Carlson, tenant attorney
PART I: Some basic guidelines
1. Break your lease
2. Get your security deposit returned
PART II: Prepare for small claims court
3. Learn your state’s landlord tenant law
4. Contact former and current tenants
5. Organize your evidence
6. Consult with an attorney
7. Write a rebuttal to landlord’s claims
8. Create a presentation folder
9. File a lawsuit; or defend against one
10. Testify, and win, in small claims court
11. Collect the judgment
PART III: Winning presentation folder
12. Follow our lead (eBook)
13. Front cover (eBook)
14. Small claims lawsuits (eBook)
15. Plaintiff’s clams (eBook)
16. Defendant’s rebuttal (eBook)
17. Move-in, move-out timeline (eBook)
18. Landlord tenant law violations (eBook)
19. Photographic evidence (eBook)
20. Exhibits (eBook)
21. Conclusion (eBook)
22. Court ordered judgment (eBook)
6. Consult with an attorney
If you are going to small claims court and do the research and preparation I suggest in this book, it’s possible that you won’t require an attorney at all. However, if you've done your research and find that you still have questions, then consult with an attorney before proceeding. It’s important to know your rights, and no amount of research may get you all the information you need. For example, we learned from Ken Carlson, among other things, that painted walls are not considered “damage,” and that the landlord cannot file another lawsuit against Marilyn since he already filed once in court. It’s important that you talk with an attorney who knows the landlord tenant law. In my quest for legal help, I talked with at least six attorneys, and paid two of them. If you live in California, I recommend consulting with Ken Carlson first, because he really knows the law. Be prepared, which means you should have done your research, and have very specific questions you want answered. Otherwise, you’ll wind up paying a lot of money at $200 per hour or more that you didn’t really need to spend.
Since you can’t have an attorney represent you in small claims court, the next best thing is to get solid legal advice that you can present to the judge (along with your presentation folder). Mr. Carlson’s Web site (www.caltenantlaw.com) includes a list of California attorneys who specialize in landlord tenant law; this is a good starting place if you live in California. Otherwise, you can Google search “landlord tenant” and “attorney” and the state in which you live to find an attorney.
Dear Larry: Just wanted to say thanks. Your website/book helped us win in court. I spent several hours preparing our binder and felt very organized going into court. Looking around we saw everyone else come in with loose papers just like you had said. We felt very prepared, but unfortunately the judge hardly looked at our binder. He just looked at what the landlord lacked as proof and awarded us judgement. Although the binder wasn't the deciding factor, it sure did help us have the confidence to stand up to our landlord in court. ~ Sincerely, Tonia Baily
Larry helped me get my deposit back from my slumlord. I highly recommend his presentation folder and expertize. I would not have received a dime without his help! Heather Hoffman Kimel
If you are suing or being sued in superior court instead of small claims court, you require an attorney. Since attorneys charge by the hour, you may want to create your presentation folder before retaining an attorney, so that you’ll have a solid amount of evidence the attorney can work from. Organization is key: for example, instead of asking your attorney which laws the landlord violated, if you show up prepared, you can tell the attorney which laws the landlord violated! That’s being proactive, and even when working with an attorney you’ll have a better chance of winning in court if you are educated in these matters. You’ll be better prepared and you’ll save money. The more work you do, the less work you pay your attorney to do, and the greater your chance of winning in court. After all, no one is going to care as much as you do about recovering your money.