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By Karen St. Onge, Esq.
This article first appeared in our Fall 2022 Communicator Magazine.
Although attorneys advise homeowner associations and community managers in preparation for appearing in small claims court and assist with appeals, more often community managers and board members go it alone since the amount in controversy does not seem to warrant the expense. (CCP §116.530, 116.540, Civil Code §4100). Here is what senior community managers in the Bay Area and Central Valley had to say about their experiences in small claims court.
According to a manager who has appeared hundreds of times in small claims court, the first sign that the association is going to get sued by a member of the association is a request for association records. The first thing she does is open a file and starts tracking everything that is requested and produced, in detail, and document every interaction with that member.