Kansas Small Claims Court Process

Kansas Small Claims Court Process

Last Updated: March 9, 2023 by Ashley Porter

Quick Facts Answer
Small Claim Maximum $4,000
Deadline to File 3 Years: Oral lease agreement

5 Years: Written lease agreement

Filing Fees Vary by court
Appeal Deadline 14 Days

Small Claims Court Basics in Kansas

Small Claims Court is an informal court designed for minor cases limited to a maximum claim amount. The trial does not involve a jury. Instead, the plaintiff and defendant present their case to the judge, who makes a decision.

Common suits filed by landlords include:

  • Recovery of unpaid rent
  • Damages that exceed the amount of the security deposit
  • Failure to uphold the responsibilities of the rental agreement
  • Early termination of a lease

Common suits filed by tenants include:

  • Failure to return the security deposit correctly
  • Failure to uphold the responsibilities of the rental agreement
  • Overcharging for damages

How Long Does the Small Claims Court Process Take in Kansas?

A typical small claims case in Kansas takes one to two months, from the date of filing, but can be longer if there are problems serving the defendant, the trial is continued, or other delays occur.

How Much Can You Sue For in Small Claims Court in Kansas?

In Kansas, the maximum amount that can be recovered through Small Claims Court is $4,000.

To attempt to recover an amount of more than $4,000, the suit must be filed as a civil case in District Court.

How Long Do You Have to File a Small Claim in Kansas?

In Kansas, you have up to 5 years from the date of the dispute to file a small claims case if the tenancy was governed by a written lease agreement. If the lease was oral, the case must be filed within 3 years.

Are Lawyers Needed or Allowed in Small Claims Court in Kansas?

Small Claims Court is designed to be simple and not require an attorney. Kansas Small Claims Court does not permit the use of an attorney in most situations.

If an attorney appears in Small Claims Court to defend themselves, you can hire an attorney to represent you.

Where are Small Claims Cases Filed in Kansas?

In Kansas, Small Claims Court is a division of District Court. A small claims case can always be filed in the District Court in the county where the rental property is located.

Depending on who the defendant is, the case may also be filed in other locations:

  • An individual living in state – Where the defendant lives
  • An out-of-state individual – Where the plaintiff lives
  • A business – Where the registered office is located

To find your local District Court, you can use the court directory.

How to File a Small Claims Case in Kansas

Step 1: Contact the court clerk of your local District Court to obtain a small claims filing packet. Ask the clerk about your local court’s filing procedures, which vary by court. The court may allow filing by mail, in person, or fax, and may require a specific method.

Step 2: Complete the small claims filing packet. The Petition form must be notarized or signed in front of the clerk.

Step 3: File the small claims Petition with the court clerk according to your local filing procedures.

Step 4: Pay the filing fee.

How Much Does it Cost to File a Case in Small Claims Court in Kansas?

The fee for filing a case in Small Claims Court in Kansas varies by court. Check with your local court clerk for filing fees in your area.

What if You Can’t Afford to File a Case?

You can still file a case if you cannot afford the fees by filing a Poverty Affidavit.

Small Claims Court Process in Kansas

After filing a small claims case in Kansas, the court clerk will schedule a trial date and issue a Summons, and the Petition and Summons are served on the defendant.

Step 1: Serve the defendant. After you file the Petition at your local courthouse you will need to serve the Petition and Summons on the defendant.

The methods of service vary by court. Check with the court clerk to determine how you can serve the defendant. Most courts allow you to pay a fee to have the sheriff handle service.

Step 2: Attend the trial. On the trial date, you should bring copies of any evidence you have to support your claim. The judge will give you and the defendant an opportunity to provide your arguments before deciding to dismiss the case or issue a judgment.

If the defendant does not attend the trial, the judge will issue you a default judgment.

Winning a Small Claims Judgment in Kansas

If you win the judgment in Kansas, the other party may appeal the case, you may be paid the judgment within the allotted time period, or you may need to pursue additional actions to recover the debt.

If the defendant disagrees with the outcome of the trial, they have 14 days after the issuance of the judgment to appeal the decision by filing a Notice of Appeal in the District Court.

After the judge issues the judgment, the debtor has 30 days to either pay the judgment or provide you with a Statement of Assets. In the best case, the judgment debtor pays their debt within this period.

If the debtor is delinquent on their payment or refuses to pay, there are multiple court actions available to recover the debt. The most common methods of enforcing a judgment are bank or wage garnishment. To initiate these processes, you would need to file a case through the District Court to seek court-enforced payment of the judgment.

A small claims judgment gains interest at a rate of 12% annually. You have 5 years to collect or renew a judgment before it expires.