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Landlord refuses to file satisfaction of judgment?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:28 am
by oshma
My landlord sought a judgment against me in August 2010. I paid off the judgment per the stipulation, but the landlord's attorney has never filed the satisfaction of judgment required by law. Therefore, my credit report has a false listing of an unpaid judgment.

In March *of this year* I went to court (Manhattan) to obtain an Order to Show Cause to Restore to the Calendar, but the judge denied it without prejudice, telling me to "follow up with the landlord." I sent a letter, certified mail, return receipt requested, in April to both landlord and their attorney. No response. I sent another letter, first class, to both in early June. No response. I left a voicemail message with the landlord, in late June. No response.

Now what do I do?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:21 am
by NYHawk
The solution to your problem is very simple.

But you should be aware of the mistakes you already made, so that you don't make the same mistakes again. You should not have moved by Order to Show Cause. You should have made a motion on notice. You should not have communicated in any way with the landlord. The landlord is represented by a lawyer. That is the only person you should communicate with. And, you should not have communicated with anybody by first class mail or by telephone. The statute (below) requires communication only by certified mail, return receipt requested. So communicating any other way is pointless.

If you have irrefutable proof that you sent a demand letter to the landlord's attorney -- by certified mail, return receipt requested -- very clearly stating that because the debt was fully paid you demanded that a Satisfaction of Judgment be filed with the Clerk of the Court and a filed copy sent to you, but your letter was ignored and no Satisfaction of Judgment was ever filed, then your remedy is to make a motion on notice seeking relief pursuant to CPLR 5020, that is, seeking a Judge to issue an order (i) compelling the landlord's attorney to file a Satisfaction of Judgment and provide you with a filed copy; and (ii) awarding you the mandatory $100.00 statutory penalty, pursuant to CPLR 5020(c).

If you don't have irrefutable proof that you sent a proper demand letter to the landlord's attorney by certified mail, return receipt requested, send another one, wait 20 days from when the letter is delivered and then, assuming you again get no response, make a motion on notice as described above. If you send another demand letter you should attach to it a copy of whatever proof you have that the debt was fully paid. If you do that the landlord's attorney will not be able to respond to your motion by trying to claim that he or she was unaware that the debt was fully paid.

Finally, you should be aware that almost nobody ever files a Satisfaction of Judgment (commonly known as a "sat") concerning Housing Court cases. So you may find the Judge and the landlord's attorney extremely annoyed because you made the motion. But you have the statutory right to have a sat filed, so insist on getting it. You should explain to the Judge (in your motion papers and at oral argument) that the reason you are insisting on getting a sat is because you continue to be prejudiced and harmed -- considering that your credit report has a false listing of an unpaid judgment -- because the landlord's attorney stubbornly and improperly refused to follow the mandatory requirements of CPLR 5020(a).

To prove that you have been prejudiced and harmed you should include a copy of your credit report with your motion papers. Please be sure to redact your social security number and all other information that has nothing to do with the false listing of the unpaid judgment.

CPLR 5020(c) states:

When the judgment is fully satisfied, if the person required to execute and file with the proper clerk pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (d) hereof fails or refuses to do so within twenty days after receiving full satisfaction, then the judgment creditor shall be subject
to a penalty of one hundred dollars recoverable by the judgment debtor pursuant to Section 7202 of the civil practice law and rules or article eighteen of either the New York City civil court act, uniform district court act or uniform city court act; provided, however, that such penalty shall not be recoverable when a city with a population greater than one million persons is the judgment creditor, unless such judgment creditor shall fail to execute and file a satisfaction-piece with the proper clerk pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (d) hereof within twenty days after having been served by the judgment debtor with a written demand therefor by certified mail, return receipt requested.

The rest of CPLR 5020 is here:

Let us know the outcome of your motion.

Good luck!