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PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THE FORMS AND DOCUMENTS CONTAINED ON THIS WEBSITE ARE FOR REFERENCE AND CONVENIENCE. THESE FORMS AND DOCUMENTS DO NOT CONSTITUTE INSTRUCTIONS OR LEGAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD SEEK THE ADVICE OF AN ATTORNEY TO BETTER UNDERSTAND YOUR RIGHTS, RESPONSIBILITIES AND LEGAL OPTIONS.
Surplus Funds Information
Surplus Funds from Foreclosed Properties
The Erie County Comptroller’s Office receives funds on foreclosed properties from various entities throughout the year. These entities include the City of Buffalo, the County of Erie and mortgage holders. Funds are sent to the Comptroller from these entities at various times throughout the year as follows:
- Erie County Real Property Tax Department – January for auctions conducted the previous September;
- City of Buffalo – April through July for auctions conducted the previous October;
- Banks and mortgage holders – throughout the year.
These funds can only be claimed from our office by a certified court order. If the funds are not claimed in 3 years, they are sent to the NYS Comptroller’s Office of Unclaimed Funds. Surplus funds can still be claimed after they are sent to NYS, but the applicable information on these funds must be obtained from our office. This is needed by NYS to locate the funds since they are sent to NYS in batches and are not identified by owners or addresses. A court order is also needed to obtain the funds from NYS.
To claim surplus funds, you can:
- Hire an attorney or
- Use the following information to obtain the court order yourself.
Any questions regarding the court process should be directed to the Buffalo Law Library.
To determine if there are surplus monies for a particular property, enter the address in the form above.
*Items that do not appear on this database are properties that were foreclosed on prior to 2008 and mortgage/bank foreclosures. To find out about these, call 716-858-4944. If you leave a message, indicate the property address and year of foreclosure.
Surplus Money on Foreclosed Properties – FAQ’s
Q: Can I claim the funds without an Attorney?
A: Yes. Begin by downloading the zip file from this page for the type of foreclosure of your property. You may or may not have to fill out all of the forms in this zip file. You will also have to work with the Erie County Clerk (Property search and filing notices) and Buffalo Taxation and Assessment Department (City Referee Report of Sale) or Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman, LLP (County Referee Report of Sale) . This could save thousands of dollars in attorney fees based on the amount of the surplus funds available.
Q: Are there any fees taken out from the funds?
A: Yes, the Comptroller’s Office charges a 2% fee per CPLR §8010 (Civil Practice Laws and Rules). There may also be fees charged by a referee that could range from $250 to $1,500 or more. There are also minimal filing fees charged by the Erie County Clerk’s Office. If an attorney is used, they will charge an additional percentage of the surplus amount.
Q: What if my property address is not on the Erie County Comptroller’s database?
A: If the property is not on the Erie County Comptroller’s website, the property either wasn’t sent to the Erie County Comptroller or this was a property that was foreclosed on prior to our database being established. If the property was foreclosed prior to 2008, you must call our office at 716-858-4944 to get further information.
Q: How long does it take to get the surplus funds?
A: The court process has built in delays to ensure that any other party that may have a claim on the surplus is notified. The whole process could take 2 months or longer.
Q: Is there a list of attorneys to choose from?
A: The Comptroller’s Office does not recommend attorneys. However, you may use the below phone numbers and websites to find an attorney:
Neighborhood Legal Services
Bar Association of Erie County
A: One of two options:
1) Search the street number and street name in the search bar above. Click "Purchase Certificate of Money on Deposit". This will allow you to pay by credit card to instantly retain a certificate. Print out the certificate after payment has been made. There will be a $1.00 surcharge in addition to the $1.00 payable to Erie County.
2) Send in a letter to the Erie County Comptroller's Office requesting the Certificate and provide the address of the property, the In Rem number or year the property was sold. Also send a check for $1.00 payable to the Erie County Comptroller. Mail to:
Erie County Comptroller’s Office
95 Franklin Street
Buffalo, NY 14202
Include a stamped self-addressed envelope for the Certificate.
Q: Can I collect surplus monies if I live out of town?
A. Yes, you can still collect surplus monies. However, you will need to either hire a lawyer to go through the process or use a local referee to finalize the paperwork with the courts.