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

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?

Los Angeles, CA -

Attorney Answers (3)

Ross Carl Goodman

Ross Carl Goodman

DUI / DWI Attorney - Las Vegas, NV

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... more
Robert Jan Suhajda

Robert Jan Suhajda

Tax Lawyer - Cerritos, CA

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 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... more
Nicholas Basil Spirtos

Nicholas Basil Spirtos

Litigation Lawyer - Montclair, CA

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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