Surety bonding requirements for legal document assistants and unlawful detainer assistants in California have been revised. Assembly Bill 285, effective January 1, 2016, requires the surety bond and revises other portions of laws regulating assistants.
Unlawful detainer assistants provide advice in the defense or prosecution of an unlawful detainer claim or action. Unlawful detainer claims are proceedings, filings or actions affecting the rights or liabilities of a person that arise under Chapter 4 of Title 3 of Part 3 of the California Code of Civil Procedure. Legal document assistants offer advice or self-help service to members of the public representing themselves in legal proceedings, barring secretarial or receptionist services.
Who needs a surety bond?
Individuals applying for a certificate of registration as assistants must post a $25,000 bond. Corporations or partnerships applying for certificates of registration must post bonds in varying amounts depending on the number of assistants they employ:
- 1-4 assistants require a $25,000 bond
- 5-9 assistants require a $50,000 bond
- 10 or more assistants require a $100,000 bond
Existing law requires assistants to register in the county where their principal place of business is located, as well as in other counties in which they do business. The new bill deletes that requirement and allows assistants to perform services in any part of the state. It also requires registration renewal applicants to complete 15 hours of continued legal education prior to renewal. Legal document and unlawful detainer assistants must inform clients that they are not lawyers in their first interaction. They must also provide clients with a “Notice to Consumer” prior to conducting business, acknowledging that assistants have provided that information. Assistants must also disclose the county they are registered in, their registration number and the date their registration expires.
If you have questions about registering as a legal document or unlawful detainer assistant, contact the County Clerk’s Office of the county you will be working in or the California Department of Consumer Affairs. Contact SuretyBonds.com to get bonded in California.