OFFICE OF THE SHERIFF
Patrick M. O’Flynn
Hours of Operation
Office Window Hours
Fri 8:30AM - 4:30PM
Monroe County Sheriff
Fax: (585) 753-4288
Upcoming Sheriff’s Sales
May 25, 2017: 14 Brightford Heights, Rochester
The Monroe County Sheriff's Civil Bureau is an accredited agency that aggressively seeks and develops partnerships with members of the community to satisfy their need for delivery of quality enforcement and service of process.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Civil Bureau is the agency of choice accredited by the New York State Sheriff’s Association for quality enforcement and service of process.
Area of Responsibility
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office Civil Bureau is the sole entity in Monroe County that has jurisdiction in all Monroe County Courts. As such, we have statutory authority to act as the enforcement officer for all court within the County of Monroe.
Responsibilities fall within two distinct areas;
- Service of Process which includes but is not limited to the service of summons, subpoena’s, petitions and orders.
- Executions which include, but are not limited to Evictions, Income Executions, Property Executions, Seizures, and Warrants of Civil Arrest.
Service fees are required in advance. The current Civil Bureau fee schedule should be used to ensure the proper amount for services and mileage is remitted. Certain services call for escrow or deposits to cover property storage, sales listings, or unforeseen expenses. For any complicated service it is advisable to contact us for an accurate cost calculation. Mileage fees are based on round trip miles, service fees are based on each person served.
All work is based on the information you provide, so the more accurate, detailed and copious the information, the more likely we are to succeed. A Post Office box is not an acceptable address, as we can not serve a P.O. box. Any information regarding officer safety issues, the elderly or infants, dogs, etc. must be conveyed when the work is delivered. Your work will be carried out by highly trained professional staff, with customer service a reinforced theme.
Monroe County Sheriff Civil Deputies are Police Certified and have special training and knowledge of Civil Law. Deputy hours of service are Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Fridays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday Service is available at a premium overtime rate. The bureau is located at the Sheriff’s Public Safety Building 130 South Plymouth Avenue, 5th Floor Rochester, N.Y. 14614.
Below, you will find a general explanation of some of the work we do. By no means is it all encompassing or viewed as legal advice. The Sheriff’s Office cannot provide legal advice, and as such, we highly advise you to seek competent legal counsel for any civil action.
In general, the purpose of an execution is to enforce a creditor’s money judgment. The type of property possessed by the judgment debtor and sought by the judgment creditor will determine the type of execution used. In general, executions fall into two categories, Income Executions and Property Executions.
In the case of Property Executions, the judgment debtor’s assets are seized and applied to the debt. If the property is tangible, this is done via a Sheriff’s sale. With non-tangible property such as bank accounts, rents, etc., the money is applied directly. It is worthy to note that the purchaser of property secured through an execution buys the debtor’s “interest” in the property. This means the property, any lien or loan balance is transferred to and becomes responsibility of the purchaser. If the loan or lien is close to or greater than the value of the property, little or no interest will be garnered at the sale, thus this process would not be financially practical for the judgment creditor.
Regardless of the type of execution used, certain common rules must be followed. The full names and addresses for judgment debtor and garnishee must be provided. The assets must be properly identified in a manner that the Sheriff can accurately verify it. Proof of the debtor’s interest in the property must be provided to the Sheriff. Any disputes over ownership must be resolved by judicial means. The Sheriff does not make this determination, nor take either party’s “word” for ownership. The Sheriff is a neutral third party, enforcing court orders. In no case will the Sheriff conduct asset or address searches. Everything must be documented in writing. Monies obtained are first applied to fee’s, poundage and interest before being applied to principal debt. All executions must be signed by the clerk of the Court where the judgment was entered, the County Clerk of the home county, or a New York State licensed attorney.
For all actions, it is highly recommended that all litigants obtain competent legal counsel. While some types of executions may seem straight forward, others are very intricate and complicated. The Sheriff cannot provide legal advice or assistance in composing legal paperwork. If the judgment debtor or a garnishee refuses to transfer the requested property, it is up to the Judgment Creditor to bring forth the appropriate Court action and paperwork compelling such transfer.
Income Executions, CPLR 5231
This instrument, commonly referred to as a wage garnishment, is used to satisfy a money judgment from the debtor’s earnings. This is done in two separate stages after you obtain a judgment in court. A stage one income execution is served by the Sheriff on the debtor.
The Sheriff of the County the debtor resides in is the Sheriff that performs the stage one enforcement. The debtor is required to start making voluntary payments to the Sheriff’s Office within twenty days of receiving the execution. The creditor must have a correct home address for the debtor.
If required payments are not made by the debtor within the twenty day window the execution progresses to second stage enforcement. Second stage enforcement service must be performed on the employer by the Sheriff of the County the debtor works at. The employer is required to deduct a percent of the debtor’s earnings during each pay period. This money will then be remitted to the Sheriff, who applies it against poundage, fees, interest and principal.
If the judgment is obtained in a lower justice court and first or second stage is in a County other than the County of the lower court, the judgment must be transcribed from the lower court to the County Clerk’s Office in the County the judgment was obtained. This will elevate the judgment to a Supreme Court level and make it enforceable throughout New York State. When using this method, you must reference the County Clerk and the transcription date.
All executions must be signed by the Clerk of the Court, the County Clerk in the originating County, or a New York State licensed attorney. Pro Se clients cannot sign an execution. It is imperative that an accurate addresses and place of employment is provided. If a County Sheriff has enforcement action on the judgment and the case is then transferred to another County Sheriff, the original Sheriff must certify the original execution with any monies that have been collected against interest and principal. It is worthy to note that the debtor may be exempt from wage deductions based on a variety of things such as but not limited to child support payments or income level.
Property Execution, CPLR Article 52
The property execution is an instrument whereby a judgment creditor “can stand in the shoes” of a judgment debtor. The judgment creditor has obtained a judgment from a court, and looks to obtain the judgment debtor’s property to satisfy the debt. The type of property the judgment debtor has and the judgment creditor would like to obtain dictates the method or type of property execution utilized.
If the property is tangible such as a motor vehicle, machinery or other valuable items capable of delivery, the Sheriff will make a demand for said property, seize it, and sell it at public auction, commonly referred to as a Sheriff’s distress sale. The proceeds will then be used to pay the cost of the seizure including fee’s, storage, poundage etc., with the remaining monies applied to the debt. The judgment creditor must provide in writing the names and addresses of any and all parties holding a lien on the property, as well as the status and outstanding balance of said liens.
If the property is non-tangible such as a bank account or monies expected for rent or payments for services, a Third Party property execution must be used. In this case, the third party individual or entity holding the judgment debtor’s property such as a tenant , will be directed by the Sheriff to turn this property over to the Sheriff for satisfaction of the debt. The third party is referred to as the garnishee, similar to an employer in an income execution. If the property is to be received in periodic installments such as rent, it is unlikely the debt will be satisfied during the life of the execution 90 days. In this case the execution must be reissued by the court.
The enforcement instrument for real property consisting of land, buildings, manufactured homes, condominiums, etc. is a Real Property execution. Once a court order is obtained the property is seized by the Sheriff and sold at a Sheriff’s sale. The real property must lie, in part or in whole, within the County of the Sheriff enforcing the execution and sale. The judgment must be transcribed in that County. If the property is a primary residence of the debtor and the debtor is a natural person, a homestead exemption may apply. If the judgment arose from an instrument secured by the mortgage on the targeted property, CPLR 5230(a) or 5236(a) can be used. A judgment lien must be placed against the property within the last ten (10) years. Docketing the money judgment against the property with the County Clerk in the County where the property is geographically located will accomplish this requirement.
Evictions are generally viewed as a two-part process. The first part may or may not involve the Sheriff in part or in whole. It is viewed as putting the occupant(s) on notice with the opportunity to challenge the proceeding.
The second stage is the enforcement of the judgment, commonly known as the warrant of eviction. Within evictions, there are two types. Evictions for non-payment of rents are the most common. Evictions for all other reasons are called holdovers. An example of this could be a piece of real property that is sold. The new owner wants the inhabitants removed so they can take physical possession. When handling these, the main difference is that the holdover eviction requires a 30-day notice rather than a 3-day notice.
The first step is the three-day notice (or 30-day notice for holdovers) for non-payment. This can be served by the landlord on the renter. The second step is the 30-day notice to vacate. These two steps are often served at the same time. The third step is the Notice of Petition and Petition for Non-Payment. The landlord cannot serve this. These petitions must be served no less than 5 days and no more than 12 days from the court date. This allows the renter due process as a fundamental right under the United States constitution. Proof of service must be filed with the court within three days of service.
Once judgment is passed in the creditor’s favor, the Judge will issue a Warrant of Eviction. This is a Court order that directs the enforcement officer to put a landlord in full possession of a particular property, and to remove all persons and personal property that are blocking his right to his real property. The judgment alone is not sufficient for the Sheriff to act upon. The actual Warrant of Eviction must be provided and it must specifically address the Sheriff as the enforcement officer.
Once the Warrant of Eviction is delivered to the Sheriff, he will produce the Notice of Eviction. This is the Sheriff’s notice whereby he informs the renter of the date and time the eviction is to commence. The Sheriff must serve this and the warrant of eviction on the renter, at least 72 hours excluding weekends and holidays prior to the eviction.
All warrants of evictions must be conducted between sunrise and sunset. Prior arrangements need to be made by the landlord for a locksmith and moving company to be on site at the time of the eviction. Details are available in the current Civil Bureau fee schedule. The eviction cannot be considered perfected until all people and personal property are removed from said premises. Personal property must be stored off site, and cannot be placed curbside. Reasonable care must be taken to protect the property. This protects all parties involved. Throughout this process, the tenant has a right to his/her personal property. Denying access to this could result in the landlord being charged criminally.
Special considerations must be taken when dealing with evictions. An eviction falls under portions of the Civil Practice Law and Rules, Real Property Actions and Proceedings, and the Real Property Law. If the eviction involves a mobile home, the Real Property Law can come into play. If the mobile home is in a mobile home park, and the eviction is based on the lot rent not being paid, a 30-day notice of eviction must be used. If the mobile home is in a mobile home park, and the eviction is a holdover eviction, a 90-day notice of eviction must be used.