• Homeowner Advocacy



    COUNTY CLERK: KNOW ABOUT THE COMMISSION ESCROW ACT

    (Mineola, NY) Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell is advising residents about the “Commission Escrow Act” recently signed into law by New York State and effective January 1, 2009. This law enables real estate brokers with a Brokerage Agreement in place with a seller to have commission funds placed in an escrow account when there is a dispute. When a broker’s services are completed, but the commission is not paid at the time of closing, the broker can file an affidavit with the County Clerk which must be properly served upon the seller. The appropriate funds are deposited into an escrow account via the County Clerk’s Office until a resolution is reached. This filing does not create a lien against the property and does not have any bearing on the buyer or his right to acquire clean title to the property. Anyone interested in more information on this law can contact County Clerk O’Connell’s office at 516-571-2664.

    COUNTY CLERK WARNS OF DEED SCAM

    (Mineola, NY) Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell continues to caution homeowners about mass mailings urging them to purchase a “certified copy” of the deed to their home. All deeds for property located in Nassau County are recorded and maintained at the County Clerk’s office and only the Clerk’s office can issue certified copies of these records. Private companies continue to solicit the purchase of a deed on behalf of the homeowner often for more than 1000% over Clerk’s office fees.

    Clerk O’Connell joined county clerks from all over New York State in support of recently enacted legislation requiring these types of solicitations to contain a disclosure that certified copies of deeds are available directly from the County Clerk’s office for a nominal cost.

    Certified copies of deeds can always be obtained from the County Clerk’s office for $ 5 to $10. Anyone wishing to request a certified copy of their deed can contact Clerk O’Connell’s office at 516-571-2664 for further information.


    Letter to the Editor

    Dear Editor:

    Concerned residents have advised me that presentations regarding assessment challenges have been made by officials of the Nassau County Legislature in which confusing and inaccurate statements were made about real estate filings in the Office of the Nassau County Clerk. It has been wrongly stated that the Clerk’s Office has a filing backlog that would delay the availability of accurate land records information. The implication is that homeowners might be deprived of recent comparable home sales data when challenging their assessments due to delays in recording by this office. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I would like to advise all residents and homeowners that the Nassau County Clerk’s Office provides real time recording of land record documents that may be accessed in our office. More importantly, please be aware that the County Clerk’s Office plays no role in the assessment of homes in Nassau County. Residents who have inquiries regarding assessment challenges are urged to contact the Office of the County Assessor at 571-1500.

    As always, my dedicated staff and I are pleased to provide the residents of Nassau County with the expedient level of service they deserve.
    Very truly yours,
    MAUREEN O’CONNELL, RN, JD
    Nassau County Clerk

    O'CONNELL: CERTIFIED COPIES OF DEEDS ARE ONLY AVAILABLE FROM THE CLERK'S OFFICE

    (Mineola, NY) Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell spoke before the Nassau Legislature on September 3rd in opposition to the fee increases they passed for services rendered by the Clerk’s Office. County Clerk O’Connell stated these fee increases were never requested by the Clerk’s office and were passed without any inquiry by the legislators to her office. She further stated the legislature’s failure to seek any input reflects their passage of this legislation lacked adequate analysis of its impact.

    The Clerk recommended the legislature amend the ordinance to protect the most vulnerable of residents including new home buyers, homeowners who were victims of predatory loan practices now trying to save their homes by refinancing to avoid foreclosure, and residents facing foreclosure actions who will be subject to increased fees for their recordings. The Clerk pointed out that there has been an alarming increase in the number of foreclosure related filings.

    The County Legislature has stated that these fee increases will result in $7 million dollars in additional revenue to the financial challenged County. The Clerk asserted that this additional revenue comes at the expense of the already highly taxed residents of Nassau County, many of whom are trying to avert foreclosure.

    O'CONNELL:FILE YOUR TAX GRIEVANCE APPEAL IN THE NASSAU COUNTY CLERK'S OFFICE

    (MINEOLA) Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell announced today that homeowners, who had their tax grievances rejected by the Assessment Review Commission, can file an appeal in the County Clerk’s Office.
"If you are a homeowner and you filed a grievance with the Assessment Review Commission earlier this year, but your grievance was rejected, you may file a Small Claims Assessment Review Petition (SCARP) to have your assessment reviewed further by the courts," stated O’Connell. Clerk O’Connell explained that the Small Claims Assessment Review Petition allows owner-occupants of residential properties, who have had their original grievances rejected, file court cases challenging their assessments after the final assessment roll is published by the Department of Assessment. The filing period is April 1st through April 30th.

    "Small Claims Assessment Review Petitions can be picked up from the County Clerk’s Office or downloaded from the County Clerk’s website at http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Clerk/Docs/PDF/2007SCAR_Petition.pdf," began Clerk O’Connell. You can complete the petition yourself, or have a representative do it for you. Once your petition is completed, you must present the original petition and one (1) copy to the County Clerk’s Court Records office for filing, where it will be assigned an AR Index Number. After filing, the Clerk’s Office immediately forwards the petitions to Supreme Court.

    The petition procedure is as follows:

    The completed petition must be accompanied by a $30.00 filing fee and should include supporting statements, records and other relevant information to support your petition. The filing fee can be made in cash, check or money order payable to the "Nassau County Clerk."

    a. If you cannot file your petition in person, you may mail it, but it must be received by the County Clerk’s Office no later than April 30th. Failure to file on time may result in a dismissal of your claim.

    b. To file by mail, submit your completed original petition and one copy along with the $30.00 filing fee and a self-addressed stamped envelope to receive your receipt and AR Index Number for the petition, to: Nassau County Clerk 240 Old Country Road – Room 108 Mineola, New York 11501

    c. Please note you must serve a copy of your petition with the AR Index Number on it to the:
    i. Nassau County Treasurer
    1.ii. Nassau County Dept. of Assessment
    2.iii. If you live in an incorporated village, you will need to serve the village; and
    3.iv. Your local school district

    Of course, you should keep a copy for your files.
    After your petition has been filed, the Assessment Review Clerk in the Supreme Court will assign your case to a hearing officer, who will contact you or your representative, directly to set a date, time and place for your hearing. You may appear personally, with or without an attorney or other representative to support the statements contained in your petition and attachments.

    You may authorize an attorney or other representative to appear personally without you to support the petition. This authorization must be in writing and bear a date within the same calendar year during which the petition is filed. The hearing officer may require you or your representative to appear personally, and may request that you submit additional evidence. If you willfully refuse or neglect to produce such evidence, or answer any material question put to you, you may be unable to obtain any reduction in assessment from the hearing officer. Failure to appear shall result in the petition being determined by the hearing officer based upon the available evidence submitted.

    The hearing officer may determine the final assessment to be the same as or less than the original assessment. However, he cannot reduce your assessment to an amount lower than you claimed on your petition. Filing of a petition for Small Claims Assessment Review constitutes a waiver of a right to commence a proceeding for judicial review of the assessment pursuant to Title 1 of Article 7 of the Real Property Tax Law.

    Please note, the County Clerk’s Office is not involved in scheduling the hearing or providing you with the decision. To check on the status of your case, call Supreme Court. After your hearing, a copy of the decision will be sent to you or your representative directly from Supreme Court. "Last year, more than 51,000 Small Claims Assessment Review Petitions were filed in the County Clerk’s Office," concluded O’Connell.

    O'CONNELL:LAW TO PROTECT HOMEOWNERS FROM DEED THEFT

    (MINEOLA) County Clerk Maureen O’Connell advises homeowners facing foreclosure that the New York State  “Home Equity Theft Prevention Act” regulates companies that offer foreclosure assistance. Many of these companies employ unscrupulous tactics, including the misrepresentation of foreclosure rescue assistance.  Specifically, targets are likely to include the elderly or those desperate to save their homes.

    The most common form of deed theft and unfair dealing occurs when a homeowner facing foreclosure agrees to deed his home to an investor or other party in exchange for payment of his missed mortgage payments. Promises are made to the homeowner that he may continue living in his home by renting it from the investor and buying it back once his financial situation has improved.  However, the homeowner is often evicted; the investor either sells the property to a third party, banking all the equity, or cashes out the home’s equity with a new mortgage, leaving the homeowner with monthly payments that are unaffordable.

    The law protects people who are in foreclosure or default and are considering selling their home. Its purpose is to provide homeowners with information before deciding to sell or transfer their home to an equity purchaser. For those considering the option of foreclosure assistance, the law requires reconveyance arrangements be recorded by the purchaser simultaneous with the deed in the County Clerk’s Office.  The reconveyance arrangement grants the seller an option to repurchase the property, unless otherwise shown, for a period of time when the financial difficulties that caused them the default can be resolved.

    As the number of foreclosures in Nassau County climb, it is critical that homeowners be wary of unscrupulous companies or individuals who offer the ability to stop foreclosure proceedings or assume mortgage payments.  For a copy of the law, visit the State’s website at: www.assembly.state.ny.us or www.senate.state.ny.us and type in bill numbers A.10057B or S.4774A, or contact your local State Representative.

    (Mineola, NY) Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell recently joined a meeting of the Freeport Senior Community Service Center at the Salvation Army to speak with members about the services the Clerk’s office provides to residents, including the free recording of Veteran Certificate of Release and Discharge (DD-214). In addition to discussing Clerk’s Office initiatives to assist and protect homeowners, Clerk O’Connell informed the group to disregard mass mailing solicitations for costly deed retrieval services, some of which cost 1700% more than Clerk’s Office fees.

    (Mineola, NY) Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell recently joined a meeting of the Herricks Senior Citizens to speak with the members about the services the Clerk’s office provides to residents, including the free recording of Veteran Certificate of Release and Discharge (DD-214). In addition to discussing Clerk’s Office initiatives to assist and protect homeowners, Clerk O’Connell informed the group to disregard mass mailing solicitations for costly deed retrieval services, some of which cost 1700% more than Clerk’s Office fees.

    (Mineola, NY) Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell recently joined a meeting of the Long Beach Senior Community Service Center at Temple Beth-El to speak with the members about the services the Clerk’s office provides to residents, including the free recording of Veteran Certificate of Release and Discharge (DD-214). In addition to discussing Clerk’s Office initiatives to assist and protect homeowners, Clerk O’Connell informed the group to disregard mass mailing solicitations for costly deed retrieval services, some of which cost 1700% more than Clerk’s Office fees.

    (Mineola, NY) Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell recently joined a meeting of the Salisbury Senior Citizens Club to speak with the members about the services the Clerk’s office provides to residents, including the free recording of Veteran Certificate of Release and Discharge (DD-214). In addition to discussing Clerk’s Office initiatives to assist and protect homeowners, Clerk O’Connell informed the group to disregard mass mailing solicitations for costly deed retrieval services, some of which cost 1700% more than Clerk’s Office fees.

    (Mineola, NY) Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell recently joined a meeting of the Garden City Kiwanis Club to speak with the members about the services the Clerk’s office provides to residents, including the recording of land records, court records and Veteran Discharge Papers. In addition to discussing Clerk’s Office initiatives to assist and protect homeowners, Clerk O’Connell informed the group to disregard mass mailing solicitations for costly deed retrieval services, some of which cost 1700% more than Clerk’s Office fees.

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