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In a UD (Calif) and with proof of financial stress, can I receive a "fee waiver" and if so, how can I petition?

Chula Vista, CA |

In California, I need to file a UD. 12/4/11 tenant was personally served and rent not paid. I have Civil Cover Sheet, Complaint, and Summons w/attachments ready for tomorrow. I also completed Claim for Statutory Damages to submit with UD. I filled out Order For Posting of Summons in case of “cat and mouse” play. (I would prefer to have an attorney represent, but husband is unemployed and the mortgage and HOA are more than rent. I’m between rock . . .) Am I missing anything? Can you foresee an obstacle? Is there a checklist? Online search take me to too many sites with legal verbiage, leaving head spinning. With proof of financial stress, i.e., unemployment, mortage amount, HOA, can I receive a "fee waiver"? If so, name of form, please. Thank you.

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Attorney answers 3


use the request for fee waiver/order forms to get the fee waiver. the form has specific income levels per household size (unless you receive govt benefits.)

no idea what Claim for Statutory Damages but hopefully you're not referring to $600 damages for malicious withholding. dont' do that.

you dont get the order for service by posting until you submit a motion for the order (there's no form for that - it's done on "pleading paper.")

make sure you have proof of service of the notice.

Responses to Avvo questions are based on a general discussion of the law and in no way constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created, and you should not take or fail to take actions based on my answers. Consult an attorney in your area. Time is often of the essence. Act quickly!



Thank you, Attorney. May I ask, why not ask for $600 damages? Would this create a "wrench"? When should I submit the motion for Order? (I have on pleading, made copy from UD case in court to use as sample). 9 a.m., I'll be filing tomorrow, cannot afford lost days and time passing . . . thank you again.



Quick question, attorney: Proof of Electronic Service (POS-050/EFS-050), can this be used to service a UD by a third party to Tenant's email address?

Richard C Koman

Richard C Koman


The $600 is almost never appropriate. It's only for severe abuses. yes, it creates a wrench (grounds for demurrer.) Once you try three attempts to serve, prepare a declaration of due diligence and then submit the motion/proposed order to the court. NO! You cannot serve by email!



Very well, Attorney. Thank you, and wish me well. I'll be on filing the 5-Day Summons, Civil Cover Sheet and the UD Complaint. I'll have a 3rd party serve, have the proof of service completed and filed, and wait the five days to see if Tenant responds (hoping she won't). In the meantime, I'll study to be prepared with either route. (I've been at this since 2 p.m. today -- exhausted.) Thank you again, sir.



Attorney, it rattled in my head in the wee hours . . . may I ask, I understand $600 is almost never appropriate, For the purpose of learning (not arguing with you, goodness, no), Tenant, whose lease is up Jan 2012 was not truthful on rental application by indicating No evictions because according to court records, Tenant has 6 UDs in County area. Tenant caused Notice of Violation from HOA to be issued in Aug and Sep 2011. Tenant has been late six months out of 10. Not enough to avoid a Demurrer. My thought was to show Judge the "unsmoothness" of all this. If still best to simply do Summons, Cover Sheet, Complaint, will be done. Thank you for your consideration.


Make sure you are using the (5-day) Summons for Unlawful Detainer.

Yes, you can apply for a fee waiver. See my guide at:

The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author (who is only admitted to practice law in the State of California). For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.


Although I understand that finances are tight, unlawful detainer lawsuits can be tricky and one mistake can destroy your case. You should definitely put some time into finding an attorney that is qualified and affordable.

First off, you cannot file a motion for an order to post summons until attempts have been made to personally serve the tenants.

As for the filing, you need the summons, complaint, civil cover sheet and a prejudgment claim of right to possession if you wish to serve all other occupants. There may be other local forms that you may need.

Good luck.

The opinion provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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