Land Bank Playbook: Role of the Sheriff in Tax Foreclosure

Land Bank Playbook Section IX

Once the Sheriff receives an Order of Sale/Transfer from the adjudicating body, the Sheriff must: 1.) prepare an internal file; 2.) schedule the property for auction; 3.) advertise the property in a local publication; 4.) conduct the sale; and 5.) report the result of the sale to the Clerk. In the tax foreclosure context, unlike private foreclosures, the minimum bid is always the taxes, costs and assessments. Therefore, the Sheriff is not required to order appraisals or make property value determinations. In the case of direct transfers, the pre-prepared deed of the Board of Revision as described in Section VII.

Regardless of the disposition ordered by the Board of Revision, it is itself empowered and should prepare the actual deed form for the Sheriff’s signature just as BOR does with Orders of Sale/Transfer for the Clerk of Court. In other words, the decree should incorporate the actual deed form containing all the party information, the case decree information as well as instructions to sell or transfer to a land bank or buyer. The Sheriff merely fills in the name of the winning bidder in the case of a sale or the applicable municipal or LRC land bank recipient named in the deed based on the Land Affidavit referred to in Section V. The Sheriff merely signs the pre-prepared deed.

As in the case with Orders of Sale/Transfers, preparation of hundreds of individual Sheriff’s deeds is very time-consuming. In Cuyahoga County, for example, this simple process of pre-prepared deeds reduced the overall foreclosure process by months. The only reason it could take several weeks to prepare and deliver a deed under this process is the time required to prepare a cost bill containing the sundry case charges (i.e., filing fee, title report, deed preparation fee, poundage and publication costs).

Forms referenced in this section: