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Do I file a criminal or civil complaint if someone destroys/damages my property if I let them live there?

Los Angeles, CA |

If I rent out a property to someone behind my home and that person destroys or damages the property/fixtures etc. can I file a civi action and is there a form online I need to use?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Best answer

    I think you could also file a criminal/incident report given the property damage. It would be up to law enforcement to forward it to the prosecutor's office for prosecution. If a criminal charge is filed, part of any negotitation would be restitution for the damaged property

    The information presented here is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The Goodman Law Group, P.C. recommends that you consult an attorney with experience in your specific legal issue. Please contact us to schedule a confidential discussion of your situation. Such communication does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind until a formal engagement agreement is signed by both you and the Goodman Law Group, P.C.


  2. You cannot file a criminal charge only a civil claim.
    There are four ways to file court papers at the correct courthouse:
    • In person
    • By mail
    • Online
    • By fax
    File form SC-100
    To file online, do the following:
    1. Log on to Los Angeles County’s Superior Court website at https://ww2.lasuperiorcourt.org/eFiling/Login.aspx and have your credit card ready. There is an additional $10 fee to e-file your case.

    Disclaimer of California Attorney. Laws differ from state to state. Although the above response is believed to be accurate, it should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice because the information provided is incomplete. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. No attorney client relation is formed with me without a written contract. Good Luck starts with a strategy and a plan. Robert J. Suhajda, MS,CPA Attorney-At-Law 17721 Norwalk Blvd. #43 Artesia, CA 90701 562-924-8922 Tax Relief Lawyer. Former financial auditor and controller. Admitted to US Tax Court, Income Tax, IRS representation, Fiduciary income tax returns, Estate and Gift tax returns, Homeowner Association Strategist.


  3. Assuming you did file a complaint with the police, they will more than likely tell you that it is a civil matter. No harm in trying.
    If you will be satisfied with $10,000 or less, you can file in small claims court.
    If the damages are higher, you need to go to superior court.

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