Land Bank Playbook: Clerk of Courts Interaction

Land Bank Playbook Section VIII

A. Orders of Sale

The Clerk of Courts role is paramount in the foreclosure and land banking process. It dockets and journalizes all foreclosure proceedings and maintains the public dockets for all cases. LRC staff will frequently refer to the Clerk’s docket when researching the status of a pending foreclosure case.

Under prior law, once a foreclosure decree was journalized, the Plaintiff’s attorney (the Prosecutor in tax foreclosure cases) would file some equivalent of a praecipe in a “Praecipe Book” maintained by the Clerk. The praecipe requests the Clerk to prepare an Order of Sale to the Sheriff. In jurisdictions where there are large foreclosure dockets, this process can be very lengthy. Indeed, the Clerk must prepare an Order of Sale containing all the parties, the Decree information and the full deed description. Because deed descriptions must be exactly accurate, which can backlog for months, H.B. 294, 126th General Assembly amended the execution statutes such that Executions and Orders of Sale can be prepared by the Prosecutor or the Board of Revision. The significance of having the Board of Revision prepare the Orders of Sale is that it completely eliminates the Praecipe Book process and the need for the Clerk to prepare an Order of Sale. The Clerk can now just sign the order of sale/transfer, file it, docket it, and send it off to the Sheriff.

This small change can save months of backlog in the preparation and filing of orders of sale/transfer by the Clerk.

B. Notice of Summons and Complaint

Another threshold paper generated by the Clerk is the Notice and Summons of Complaint. Since the service of the initial Complaint upon all defendants must be accompanied with a Notice and Summons of Complaint, a revised Notice and Summons is required which indicates that: 1.) the case is in the Board of Revision; 2.) that the property may be subject to direct transfer without appraisal and without Sheriff sale [(R.C. 323.69(B))]; 3.) that failure to appear could result in a forfeiture of the property as part of the tax foreclosure decree; and 4.) that the possibility of direct transfers under the alternative right of redemption may result in a direct transfer to a land bank. See: R.C. 323.78.

C. Clerk’s On-Line Site; Miscellaneous Forms;

Case designation on the Clerk’s Docket and Case Designation Sheets also should be modified slightly to provide a space for BOR tax foreclosures. Whereas civil cases begin with a “CV” prefix, criminal cases begin with a “CR” prefix, etc., Board of Revision cases begin with a “BR” prefix which informs the reader that the case is a Board of Revision tax foreclosure case. On the Clerk’s public docket database, it is helpful for the Clerk to add a field indicating the BR category of cases in addition to the “Civil,” “Criminal,” “Domestic Relations,” etc. Likewise, the Clerk’s docket should add a field that allows for tax foreclosure case research by parcel number. In addition to fields which allow case research by case number, parties, type of case, etc., an additional parcel field which allows a case to be identified by parcel number is very helpful.

Section VIII Sample Forms