Common Ways To Collect A California Money Judgment

What are the ways to collect a California Money Judgment? Below is a discussion of four of the most common procedures used by judgment creditors in California.

Preliminary Considerations

As a preliminary matter, the success of judgment collection procedures often turns on the degree of due diligence exercised by the landlord during the screening process, since this information will form the basis for locating the tenant and potential income sources needed to collect on any ensuing judgment.

The process begins with the rental application, which should contain as much background information as possible, including the tenant’s Driver’s License Number, the name address and telephone number of at least three references, and any aliases the tenant has used in the past. The tenant’s employment information is also a very important piece of information that should be required in the Rental Application. The following documents should also be requested for the tenant file: 1) A copy of the tenant’s driver’s license and/or California ID: 2) A copy of the tenant’s last three pay stubs; and 3) a copy of any utility bill.

Why is this information so important? The more information you obtain from a prospective tenant at the application stage will assist you in screening the tenant for potential eviction risks. It will also assist you in the collection of a money judgment if you ever have to evict the tenant.

Common Judgment Collection Procedures

The Bank Account Levy

Bank levying is a process that uses a debtor’s bank account to pay a money judgment. Certain steps must be followed to achieve this. The steps include locating the debtor’s banking institution, obtaining court authorization to levy the bank (obtaining a Writ of Execution), and securing a levying officer from the sheriff’s office. The levying officer will collect the amount and pay the creditor the net proceeds. Wage Garnishment If the debtor is not a federal employee and self-employed with a pay above the poverty line, you can intercept up to 25% of the debtor wages. This procedure also requires the procurement of a Writ of Execution from the Court, the completion of other court required forms, and arranging with the local sheriff’s office to enforce the Writ of Execution.

Abstract Of Judgment

A Judgment Creditor can place a lien on real property by an Abstract of Judgment. The judgment lien on real property is created by recording a properly completed Abstract of Judgment within the county recorder’s office where the Judgment Debtor holds property. If this is in more than one county, then a different Abstract of Judgment should be recorded in each such county. Once properly completed and recorded, it becomes a lien on real property located in the county of recordation, even if, for example, the property is acquired at a later date. Upon that property’s sale or refinancing, the Abstract of Judgment should appear in a title search and will have to be cleared, i.e. paid or released, for the sale to proceed.

Till Tap

A till tap is where the Sheriff comes and empties the cash register of a business owned by the Judgment Debtor. The steps include obtaining a Writ of Execution, securing a levying officer from the sheriff’s office, and completing the required forms and instructions to the levying officer.

Keeper Levy

This procedure involves sending a sheriff’s deputy to the debtor’s business during business hours. Their main aim will be collecting cash and checks until the court judgment is paid in full. The steps include procurement of a Writ of Execution, Declaration of the Accrued Interest, Cost Memorandum after the Judgment and the Acknowledgment of Credit. The paperwork should be done by the clerk and given to the sheriff, who will be instructed to have a keeper at the business. The sheriff will proceed with the collection for the firm when instructed. The proceeds will be distributed accordingly.

This is just a summary of a few of the various processes that you can utilize when it comes to collecting a money judgment in California. Lynx Legal Service is just a phone call way if you would like to further discuss these issues, or a free evaluation of your case. Call us now at 888-441-2355 to talk to one of our eviction specialists.

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