SCSO Civil Division FAQ & More

All fees & mileage are payable in advance and are per party to be served. Unless otherwise noted, add mileage. You must send the proper type and quantity of process indicated, with the correct fees and mileage, with a letter of instruction in order for the papers to be processed. Omissions, errors, illegibility, untimeliness, etc., will prevent your papers from being docketed with our office. Full and complete addresses including zip codes are required. Acceptable forms of payment include attorney check or money order. For all mandates, e.g., executions, evictions & court orders involving enforcement activity, at least one original with a handwritten ink signature must be delivered to us (CPLR Art.52, generally; NYCRR 130-1; etc.). Documents with the court's raised seal are acceptable. Generally, where copies are required, such as for income and property executions, photocopies are sufficient; the filing party must determine whether clerk or attorney certified copies are required in other cases. The Sheriff's Office does not supply legal forms, nor can we complete them. Some courts may supply forms while some do not. There are several suppliers or publishers of legal forms and you should consult the various telephone directories.

DEFINITIONS:

Eviction: RPAPL §221, Art.7 and RPL §233 (Eviction notice requires original plus three copies per person to be served.  Eviction Warrant requires one original, and then three copies for each party to be evicted)

  1. Article 7 of the RPAPL addresses the common landlord-tenant summary proceeding. This proceeding is usually commenced with a notice of petition and petition. These papers must be served on the respondent at least five but no more than twelve days before the court hearing. Accordingly, please deliver such process to the sheriff at least fourteen days before the hearing date. Three copies per party to be served are required. Add mileage; multiple parties at same address, one mileage.
  2. Other documents to be served in connection with this type of proceeding such as "3 day" or "30 day" notices and the like, if not issued by a court or its clerk, the fees are $32.00 per document, per party plus mileage. Send three copies per party to be served. If there are any time limitations, you must make us aware of them.
  3. Eviction/removal. Please advise us if there are any concerns for officer safety such as violence, dogs, criminal activity, hazardous materials, etc., or if elderly, very young or infirm persons are involved.
  1. RPAPL §749 warrant of eviction. The sheriff is required to give a written 72-hour notice to the respondent/tenant prior to any physical removal. The sheriff will serve a copy of the warrant along with the notice. The 72-hour period, once commenced, runs uninterrupted: However, as of 27 August 2009, weekends & holidays are NOT counted. Eviction must occur between sunrise & sunset and the landlord or his representative should communicate with the Civil Office for scheduling of removal.
  2. Mobile/manufactured homes. If not in a manufactured home park, the 72-hour rule applies. RPL 233 defines a manufactured home park as “…a contiguous parcel of privately owned land which is used for the accommodation of three or more manufactured homes occupied for year-round living.” If in a manufactured home park, the sheriff must give the tenant a written 90-day notice. The 90 days can be reduced to 30 days if ordered by the court; such is not automatic. The manufactured home must be removed from the lot in order for the Seneca County Sheriff to return the warrant of eviction as executed. It is the landlord/petitioner's responsibility to ensure that the warrant specifically directs any reduced time; otherwise, the 90-day rule applies.
  3. Tenant(s) and their personal property must be physically removed from the premises described in the warrant. There is no "lockout." The landlord must provide proper moving & storage, off site, by insured, competent professionals. Removed goods are not placed curbside. This helps protect all parties from loss, theft or damage and reduces the exposure to such claims.
  4. RPAPL 221 order for possession or writ of assistance. These are issued in several circumstances, most commonly in conjunction with a foreclosure action. As a practical matter, they are treated and processed similar to the RPAPL 749 warrant: the sheriff will serve a copy of the order & 72 hour notice on the defendant and if a physical removal is necessary, the plaintiff will make the appropriate moving & storage arrangements and consult with the civil office for scheduling. There is no sunrise to sunset provision for execution of the order but the prohibition against service or execution on a Sunday or Sabbath is effective.
  5. In all cases, the warrant or order must be specifically directed to the Sheriff of Seneca County. We will need one original, and then three copies for each party to be evicted (as listed in the warrant or order). The fees are $107.00 per adult party, plus  double mileage. If more than one party is at same address, mileage is only charged once.
  6. If the landlord is not prepared as stated above at the time that officers arrive to enforce the eviction, their will be a $90.00 plus mileage rescheduling fee. This fee will need to be paid to the Seneca County Sheriff’s Civil Division BEFORE a re-scheduling of the eviction occurs.

Family Court process: There are several types of legal paperwork which are issued from Family Court for service.  Please call our office for the service requirements for the specific paperwork you have to be served.  Please have the paperwork available when you call as we will ask specific questions about it.

Income Execution CPLR §5231 (Requires Original and four copies): This instrument, commonly known as a wage garnishment, is used to satisfy a money judgment from the debtor's earnings. There are two stages. In the first stage, the income execution is served by the sheriff on the judgment debtor who must begin making voluntary installment payments to the sheriff. The income execution must be filed with the sheriff where the debtor resides. Therefore, the creditor must have a current correct home address for the judgment debtor. If the debtor fails to make the required voluntary payments, the second stage begins. The income execution will now be served by the sheriff on the debtor's employer who will deduct a percentage from the debtor's earnings and remit it to the sheriff. The income execution must be filed with the sheriff in whose county the employer is located. So, for example, if the judgment debtor lived in Seneca County and worked in Wayne County, the judgment creditor would first have to file with the Seneca County Sheriff and if the debtor defaulted, the Seneca County Sheriff will return the papers to the creditor who must now file them with the Wayne County Sheriff. The fees listed here are what the Seneca County Sheriff charges; you must call other sheriffs for their rates. All fees are paid at the time the papers are filed. If the debtor lives & works in Seneca County, both fees are paid in advance at a reduced rate. The income execution can be issued (or signed), only by a lawyer, court clerk or county clerk. We cannot serve a P.O. Box.

  • Whenever more than one Sheriff (or county) is expected to be involved and the judgment is from a City, Town or Village Court, the creditor must first obtain from the original court a transcript of the judgment. This document must then be filed with the County Clerk's Office (the "home" county clerk). After this is done, the income execution can be issued and it must reference that the transcript was in fact filed with the county clerk.
  • All executions (income or property) can only be issued (signed) by the clerk of the court where the judgment was entered, the county clerk of the home county, or a lawyer licensed to practice in NY State.

NOTEs FOR JUDGMENT CREDITORS: You must indicate on the income execution forms the full name and address, including zip code, of the judgment debtor & employer. If the debtor is no longer employed by the named employer the income execution becomes ineffective & is returned to you. The Sheriff does not perform any searches or follow-ups with respect to the debtor's residence, place of employment and so on. Also, it is the decision of the New York State Sheriff’s Association that we no longer accept executions containing the Social Security Number (SSN) of the debtor. This includes instruction letters, attachments and any other correspondence sent to this office. It is the practice of this office to not alter any document received by us in any way, therefore it will be returned to the Judgment Creditor for them to remove the SSN. Once the SSN is removed and resent to this office we will process it in a timely manner.

Order of Seizure: An Order of Seizure is an order, signed by a judge, directing the Office of Sheriff to seize a specified chattel.  The order is delivered to the Sheriff along with the papers on which it was granted, generally the plaintiff’s affidavit and an undertaking.  After seizure, the property is held in the custody of the Sheriff for ten days.  After ten days the chattel is turned over to the plaintiff unless the Sheriff receives further direction from the court.  Contact the Civil Office for fees required as they differ according to the property seized.

Order to show cause: (Requires Original and two copies) An Order to Show Cause is issued by a judge and directs the defendant to appear in court to show cause as to why relief sought by the plaintiff should not be granted.  The Sheriff’s Office requires the original and two copies along with appropriate fees and a viable service address. 

Property execution: CPLR §52 (Requires Original and five copies, if multiple debtors, original plus three copies per party) The property execution is an instrument used by the sheriff to seize (or "levy" upon), assets of the judgment debtor other than earnings, salary or wages. The type of property targeted will determine the type of execution to be used. For example, if tangible personal property like a motor vehicle, boat, machinery, and so on is to be levied upon, the "straight" or "demand" execution may be used. The sheriff will seize the property and liquidate it at a public auction, the proceeds paying the expenses associated with the sale (towing, storage, etc) and the net proceeds applied to the satisfaction of the judgment. A commonly used execution is the "third party" execution or execution "with notice to garnishee." These are used where the asset is not tangible, like a bank account or rent payment. The sheriff will serve a copy of the execution on the bank or other appropriate party as directed and that party, the "garnishee," will send the money to the sheriff for processing. If real estate is the target for enforcement, a real property execution may be used. There are several forms available by several legal forms publishers and some executions can be used for different assets. For example, the personal property demand execution might also be used for real estate. Some "third party" executions are limited for use only with those types of levies. Some court clerks supply forms, some do not. In all cases, the judgment creditor is responsible for ensuring the forms are accurate and complete. Property executions can be issued (signed), only by a lawyer, court clerk or county clerk.

  1. Original plus five copies. If multiple debtors, original plus three copies per party. Add mileage, If enforcement outside the home county is anticipated and a City, Town or Village Court judgment is involved, make sure you file the judgment transcript with the home county clerk first.
  2. When the third party execution is used for a natural person judgment debtor you must advise us in writing whether or not the "notice to judgment debtor" provision of CPLR 5232(c) has been complied with (this concerns certain assets exempt from levy). If this form has not been sent within the previous year, the sheriff must be supplied with copies so that it can be reissued to the debtor. We must serve a copy of the execution and a notice per party listed.
  3. For all tangible property, the judgment creditor must provide documentation establishing the debtor's interest in the targeted property prior to any levy. If liens are involved, the name & address of the lienor should be provided to us as well as the status or outstanding balance due on any lien. For example, if a motor vehicle or boat is targeted, the NYS Dept. of Motor Vehicles can provide the title & lien information when you fill out and send to them form no. MV-15. Advances for anticipated expenses will be required; for example, an uncomplicated motor vehicle levy with a standard tow might be $500, where a boat with a trailer or a dump truck might be $1000 or more. Please call for estimates. Advances will also be necessary for processing real property.  These executions are used in conjunction with a court order or judgment that may involve both money and the possession of and delivery of personal or real property. We will need an original or clerk or attorney certified copy of the order, plus an original and four copies of the execution. Advances may be necessary. Add mileage.

    NOTE: All litigants are strongly urged to seek competent professional legal counsel at all times. The Sheriff is not a lawyer and can only advise & inform parties as to what the Sheriff's rules & procedures, fees, etc. may be.
  1. Bank account & similar levies pursuant to CPLR 5232(a)
    The judgment creditor must indicate on the execution forms the full names and addresses, including zip codes, for the judgment debtor and the garnishee (bank, credit union, corporation, etc.). The Sheriff does not perform asset searches. The judgment creditor must identify the garnishee.

    The Sheriff does not physically seize cash: the garnishee has ninety days to transfer the debtor's interest in property or assets in the custody of the garnishee or in debts owed by the garnishee to the debtor. If for any reason the garnishee cannot or will not effect a transfer, the judgment creditor is responsible for bringing the appropriate court action in the proper time and court. The Sheriff does not have any authority to compel a garnishee to do anything. If the garnishee advises the Sheriff that it has no such property, assets or debts of the debtor, the Sheriff will close and return the execution with explanation.

    Generally, a bank or similar entity will not comply with an execution if a party other than the judgment debtor has an interest in the targeted asset, for example, a joint bank account where a non-debtor is a joint owner. Usually the judgment creditor must apply for judicial determination of these issues.
  2. Levies for rent, mortgage payments & similar assets.
    Again, the judgment creditor must provide full names and addresses, including zip codes, of any garnishee to be served with the execution. Where installment, regular or irregular payments are targeted or expected by the judgment creditor, be advised that the Sheriff does not physically travel to the garnishee and make such collections. It is the garnishee's responsibility to transfer any such asset or debt to the Sheriff as they become due. Also, the ninety day time limitation referenced above is effective, so if the judgment is not expected to be fully satisfied, including interest, fees and poundage, within that time period, the judgment creditor must take the appropriate action in a timely manner to protect his interests & have that period extended. Any disputes as to ownership interests, including joint interests, cannot be resolved by the Sheriff & usually requires the creditor to seek judicial determination.

    NOTE: If you do not hear from us within 30 days of your filing the papers, you should call us at (315) 539-1706 to inquire as to the disposition of your case.
  3. Levies on "property capable of delivery" or tangible personal property.
    Any personal property not exempt from application to the satisfaction of a money judgment can be levied upon by the Sheriff. The judgment creditor must provide documentation establishing the debtor's interest in the targeted property and must provide information sufficient for the Sheriff to properly identify it. Again, any disputes as to ownership interests will have to be resolved by judicial determination, before the Sheriff acts. The Sheriff must actually physically seize the property. Accordingly, advances from the judgment creditor (in addition to any filing fees), will be necessary to cover anticipated expenses. For example, if a standard motor vehicle is to be levied upon, the Sheriff will need an advance for towing, storage and fees associated with a Sheriff's sale (usually $500). The type and quantity of property to be seized determines any advances needed. The Sheriff intends to perform any such levies in a professional, timely & safe manner, so only those service providers or vendors who are competent, reliable & insured should be used. Further, the Sheriff as the court's neutral enforcement officer, requires all service providers to be neutral; that is, not associated, affiliated or related (either personally or by virtue of a business or other relationship), to any of the parties. The Sheriff is not obligated to use any particular service provider or vendor.
  4. Real property.
    The subject realty, or a portion of it, must be within Seneca County. The judgment must be a lien on such property. Ten years must not have elapsed since the entry of the judgment. If the judgment was recovered for all or a portion of a mortgage debt, for the targeted realty, no execution sale can occur. If the judgment debtor is an individual (natural person), and the targeted realty is owned & occupied by him as a principal residence, court permission & direction is required before any execution sale can occur.

    There are exceptions and variations to most of the foregoing and professional review & management by a lawyer is strongly advised. There will be costs associated with the processing of a real property execution sale in addition to the filing fees. Generally, the advance required is $500.00 per parcel, but such is dependent on publishing costs.

    NOTE: Please see the previous sections regarding deeds, associated forms, format and acknowledgment notes.

Subpoena: (Requires three copies of the subpoena) A subpoena is issued by a clerk of the court to a witness directing their appearance in court and often is accompanied by a witness fee.  The Sheriff’s Office requires three copies of the subpoena with appropriate fees and a viable service address.

Summons: (Requires three copies of each summons) A summons is issued to direct a defendant to answer a complaint either in person or in writing to the court.  The Sheriff’s Office requires three copies of each summons along with appropriate fees and a viable service address.  Also include a letter of instruction directing the type of service to be made.