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Can I claim lost wages for 1 day that I will have to appear in court as plaintiff to sue my landlord ?

Ventura, CA |

I am suing my landlord in small claims court for my security deposit back. I am not worried about that portion of the case as I have proof to support it. I am currently putting together my claim and in addition the amount of the deposit I wanted to include 8 hours of lost wages for having to appear in court to sue him as well as 3 hours for having to leave work early to file? Can I include lost wages in my claim + my security deposit? How will this look to a judge? Mind you, I make $100/hr so I am upset I have to miss work for this. I am in California.

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Attorney answers 3


No. Unfortunately, in virtually all instances, your lost wages from missing work to attend a small claims court trial is not recoverable as damages.

However, if you are able to prove to the court that the landlord acted in "bad faith" in refusing to return your security deposit, the court can order the landlord to pay the tenant the amount of the improperly withheld deposit, plus up to twice the amount of the security deposit as a "bad faith" penalty. (Civil Code Section 1950.5(l).)

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.


No, lost wages are not allowed in these circumstances. I agree with my colleague if you can prove bad faith you can double damages possibly providing you adequate relief for your lost wages. Good luck with your case.

Marcus W. Morales, Esq.
115 W. Mission St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 845-5405

All content posted on and is for educational purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Any information conveyed to, or by telephone to the Law Offices of Marcus W. Morales does not create an attorney-client relationship until an attorney-client fee agreement has been entered into and signed by both parties.


My colleagues are correct. You cannot claim lost wages in connection with your court appearance.

DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH ME ARE TO BE CONSTRUED AS ARISING FROM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH ME UNLESS I HAVE EXPRESSLY AGREED TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPRESENTATION, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXECUTION OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF RETAINER.