TIP OF THE MONTH - November 2012


Source: New York Landlord’s Law Book
              By Attorney Mary Ann Hallenborg

Can You Collect a Judgement If You Win?

When you evaluate the solvency of the Tenant, keep in mind that Small Claims Judgements are good for 20 years. (CPLR $ 211 (b)).  So, if you have a spat with a student or someone who may get a job soon, it may be worthwhile to get a Judgement with the hope of collecting later.

The best way to collect a Judgement is to garnish wages.

Another way is to find out the name and address of the defendant’s employer.  If you sue an employed person, you may be able to collect your Judgement out of his or her salary.  You can collect 10% of the ex-tenant’s salary until the judgement is paid, provided the tenant’s gross earnings are above a certain minimum amount set by federal law- You can’t however, garnish a welfare, Social Security, unemployment, pension or disability check.  So if the person sued gets income from one of these sources, you may be wasting your time unless you can identify some other asset that you can efficiently get your hands on.

Bank accounts, motor vehicles and real estate are other common collection sources.  But people who run out on their debts don’t always have much in their bank account (or they may have moved the account to make it more difficult to locate) and much of their personal property may be exempt under state debt protection laws.

Return to prior page

This web page was updated on 11/01/2012.