The Sheriff has no authority to demand payment on judgments or liens. He is required by law to levy upon and sell specifically described property to satisfy the execution issued.
How the levy process works:
Once the Leon County Sheriff’s Office has received all required paperwork and your deposit, a deputy will be sent to take possession of the listed property. Once the property has been secured, we will prepare a Notice of Sheriff’s Sale that will be advertised for 4 consecutive weeks in the Tallahassee Advertiser, a local newspaper.
Once the sale date has arrived, a deputy will conduct the sale. The sale is a public auction to the highest bidder for cash-in-hand only. No checks, money orders, or credit cards are accepted as payment. Should the highest bidder not have the cash in hand, the second highest bidder wins the bid at their bid price. Please note that there is no minimum bid.
The plaintiff or their representative has the opportunity to employ a credit bid at the sale. This means that you can bid up to the amount of your judgment, all accrued interest and levy costs to date, and the $500.00 liquidation fee, without producing any money. If you are the highest bidder then the amount of your bid will be subtracted from the judgment. However, all costs will be deducted from your deposit. If you bid over the amount of the judgment then you will be responsible for producing the necessary amount in cash at the time of the sale . Should you fail to do so, then the second highest bidder will be offered the property at their bid price. All plaintiffs are advised to be present at the sale in order to protect their interest.
Should the property fail to sell, the property will be returned to the defendant at your cost.
Should the defendant wish to satisfy the judgment, they can contact this office to obtain a current payoff amount. This amount will include the judgment, all accrued interest to date, the $500.00 liquidation fee, and all costs incurred from your deposit. Full payoff by the defendant immediately cancels the sale and returns the property to the defendant. Please contact this office during normal business hours if the defendant desires to pay you directly, to determine the levy costs to date.
What we require:
- The original writ of execution. This can be obtained from the same court that issued your judgment.
- Instructions for levy. This document is required to direct the Sheriff, in writing, to levy upon specifically described property; provide defendant’s residence address, place of employment, and attorney of record, if any. This document is also required to have a "hold harmless" clause per FSS 30.30.
- Deposit. The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that the Sheriff shall require a deposit in advance to cover all costs in connection with the handling of an execution or he is personally liable for such costs if not paid. Our current deposit amounts are as follows:
- Automobile: $1700.00
- Boat: $1600.00
- Real Estate: $600.00
For levy on other personal property, contact this office for cost deposits. The cost to levy upon personal property other than motor vehicles, boats, or real estate is usually at least $2000.00. The above deposits are based on costs required to conduct past levies and are not negotiable. These deposit amounts are subject to change without notice, please contact this office for current deposit amounts.
We require an affidavit as defined in Florida Statute 56.27:(4)
On or before the date of the first publication or posting of the notice of sale provided for under s. 56.21, the levying creditor shall file an affidavit setting forth the following as to the judgment debtor:
(a) An attestation that the levying creditor has reviewed the database or judgment lien records established in accordance with ss. 55.201 55.209 and that the information contained in the affidavit based on that review is true and correct;
(b) The information required under s. 55.203(1) and (2) for each judgment lien certificate indexed under the name of the judgment debtor as to each judgment creditor; the file number assigned to the record of the original and, if any, the second judgment lien; and the date of filing for each judgment lien certificate under s. 55.202 or s. 55.204(3); and
(c) A statement that the levying creditor either does not have any other levy in process or, if another levy is in process, the levying creditor believes in good faith that the total value of the property under execution does not exceed the amount of outstanding judgments.
This is a free-form affidavit. In order to avoid undue delays in the execution and levy process, we require this affidavit be filed in our office prior to levy. Additionally please provide a copy of your judgment lien certificate.
Proof of ownership:
For motor vehicles, boats and other watercraft, we require a printout from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. You can contact the DHSMV at 850-617-2000. For real estate, we require a certified copy of the Quit-Claim or Warranty Deed from the Leon County Clerk of the Court, Recording Office. You can contact the Clerk of the Court at 850-577-4030. A printout from any other source (i.e. internet searches) is not considered legal proof and will not be accepted.
Please note that you are directly responsible for all costs incurred in the levy process. Should the property sell for a sufficient amount, your entire deposit will be returned to you. However, should the property not sell for an amount sufficient to cover all costs and Sheriff’s fees, the remainder will be deducted from your deposit.
The levy process is not guaranteed to be successful. Once again, the plaintiff or their representative is strongly encouraged to be present at the sale in order to protect their interest.
Prior to the first date of publication, the plaintiff is required to send, via certified mail to the defendant, a copy of the Notice of Sheriff’s Sale, Notice of Sheriff’s Levy, and the aforementioned affidavit pursuant to F.S. 56.27. The 2 Notices will be provided to you by this office.
Any property owned by a defendant is subject to levy, with the exception of real property protected by homestead exemption. Property held in the name of multiple parties (i.e. John Doe and Jane Doe) is not subject to levy when judgment is against only one, or some, of the owners. However, property registered in an or fashion (i.e. John Doe or Jane Doe) may be levied upon even if the judgment only lists one of the individuals.
Motor vehicles, other personal property and real property, if levied upon, are subject to all existing liens, and potential buyers will be notified of this prior to sale.
A $500.00 liquidation fee will be collected from the defendant in the event they choose to satisfy the execution prior to the sale. In the event that the sale proceeds, this fee will be deducted from the sale amount. This amount goes to the levying plaintiff/creditor. This liquidation fee does not count towards satisfaction of the judgment.
The bidding is open to the general public (including the defendant), with the exception of Leon County Sheriff’s Office employees or their relatives.
The Leon County Sheriff’s Office does not put levies on hold, unless some clarification is needed from the court in order to proceed. If you request that we stop a levy and cancel the sale, all paperwork and the remainder of the deposit will returned to you.
You may contact the Civil Unit directly at 850-606-3450 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday.
Our mailing address is:
Attn: Civil Division
Leon County Sheriff's Office
Tallahassee, FL 32302
Our Street Address is:
Attn: Civil Division
Leon County Sheriff's Office
313 S Calhoun St.
Tallahassee, FL 32301