2020 California Code
Code of Civil Procedure - CCP
CHAPTER 5.5 - Small Claims Court
ARTICLE 2 - Small Claims Court
Section 116.223.


(a) The Legislature hereby finds and declares as follows:

(1) There is anticipated to be an unprecedented number of claims arising out of nonpayment of residential rent that occurred between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(2) These disputes are of special importance to the parties and of significant social and economic consequence collectively as the people of the State of California grapple with the health, economic, and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

(3) It is essential that the parties have access to a judicial forum to resolve these disputes expeditiously, inexpensively, and fairly.

(4) It is the intent of the Legislature that landlords of residential real property and their tenants have the option to litigate disputes regarding rent which is unpaid for the time period between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, in the small claims court. It is the intent of the Legislature that the jurisdictional limits of the small claims court not apply to these disputes over COVID-19 rental debt.

(b) (1) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) Section 116.220, Section 116.221, or any other law, the small claims court has jurisdiction in any action for recovery of COVID-19 rental debt, as defined in Section 1179.02, and any defenses thereto, regardless of the amount demanded.

(2) In an action described in paragraph (1), the court shall reduce the damages awarded for any amount of COVID-19 rental debt sought by payments made to the landlord to satisfy the COVID-19 rental debt, including payments by the tenant, rental assistance programs, or another third party pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 1947.3 of the Civil Code.

(3) An action to recover COVID-19 rental debt, as defined in Section 1179.02, brought pursuant to this subdivision shall not be commenced before August 1, 2021.

(c) Any claim for recovery of COVID-19 rental debt, as defined in Section 1179.02, shall not be subject to Section 116.231, notwithstanding the fact that a landlord of residential rental property may have brought two or more small claims actions in which the amount demanded exceeded two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) in any calendar year.

(d) This section shall remain in effect until July 1, 2025, and as of that date is repealed.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 2, Sec. 9. (SB 91) Effective January 29, 2021. Repealed as of July 1, 2025, by its own provisions.)

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