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To My Fellow Collections Attorneys - Ever Do a Sheriff’s Sale?

For some reason, in my years of practicing collections/ judg mcacollector08/29/18
I've done it (for a coop), and you need to read some books a nycatt08/30/18
Usually, a money judgment is a lien on all real and personal specv31308/29/18
It is similar in concept to a foreclosure, but the actual sp jeffm08/29/18
Thanks guys! mcacollector08/31/18
mcacollector (Aug 29, 2018 - 5:38 pm)

For some reason, in my years of practicing collections/ judgment enforcement law, I have never had to do a sheriff’s sale of real property. Unfortunately, the time has come lol

I know the rules and procedures governing sheriff’s sales are typically extremely varied by jurisdiction, however, can anyone provide any guidance as to how this is supposed to work? I am trying to enforce a money judgment (not property-related so this won’t be a foreclosure) against someone who owns property in Queens County, NY and there is essentially zero guidance out there. Would it work the same way as a foreclosure?

The client really wants me to try to make this happen, but I’m kind of at a loss as to the steps. Any guidance would be very helpful! Thanks JDU.

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nycatt (Aug 30, 2018 - 5:23 pm)

I've done it (for a coop), and you need to read some books and treatises my friend. If there is a mortgage on the property, which is pretty likely, you are going to have to do a foreclosure. Which is a new area of the law you don't want to learn for a one off. Also, you need to figure out if it is their home that they live in. If so, you need to figure out how they own it (with wife, on their own) and then read up on the homestead exemption. If the house is owned with wife, you aint gonna get it even if they own it outright. If it is owned sole by debtor and there is less than 50k equity, you aint gonna get it, even if you do a foreclosure. If there is more than 50k equity, you still might not get it. Also if it is a coop, it is an auction of shares under article of the ucc and it is has different rules than an auction of real prop.

I hope you aren't promising your client great things, because unless it is an investment property, I doubt the ending is happy for your client. assuming the stars aligned and you could foreclose, it would be many years from now.

But here is what you need to do stat (this is what my firm usually does, since a foreclosure is almost always impossible) - file the judgment in queens supreme with the correct clerk to make it a lien against the real property. then they cant sell or refinance it. Years later, they will come begging for a settlement when they need to sell or refinance. Set a timer for ten years to renew the judgment.

FYI, my practice area is real estate litigation, and I have been doing it as my main practice area for ten years.

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specv313 (Aug 29, 2018 - 6:07 pm)

Usually, a money judgment is a lien on all real and personal property of the judgment-debtor. In my juris., execution on a money judgment against real property follows the same procedure as a mortgagee does in foreclosure. I have a hard time believing that there's "essentially zero guidance" in New York State on enforcing a money judgment against real property. That said, maybe start by referring to NY Rules governing mortgage foreclosure.

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jeffm (Aug 29, 2018 - 6:45 pm)

It is similar in concept to a foreclosure, but the actual specifics of the procedure, itself, likely vary greatly. There is authority in your jx on how to do this. You just need to find it. Here's a lead: http://www.thelangelfirm.com/Debt-Defense-Blog/2015/December/Sale-of-Real-Property-through-Sheriff-Levy-New-Y.aspx

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mcacollector (Aug 31, 2018 - 4:05 pm)

Thanks guys!

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