Motion to Complete Sheriff Sale
Properties Sold at Auction
In Philadelphia, the Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia regularly auctions properties for public sale. Most of these properties are being sold to satisfy outstanding tax balances and/or defaulted mortgages. The properties are auctioned in a public forum where third-party purchasers make bids to buy the Properties. The winning bidder is awarded the Property but must make full payment to the sheriff within thirty (30) days. If the bidder does not pay the entire bid to the sheriff within thirty (30) days he loses the right to purchase the Property.
Motion to Complete Sheriff Sale
However, a sheriff bid that was accepted but not finalized may be completed with a motion to complete sheriff sale. If you were the winning bidder at the auction but did not pay the balance due within the prescribed time frame you may ask the Court to allow you to finalize the sale. Often times sheriff sale properties that do not close are placed back on auction. Therefore, the City of Philadelphia may have a legal interest in supporting your motion to complete sheriff sale under Pa.R.C.P. 2327.
Petition To Intervene and Complete Sheriff Sale
In order to file a motion to complete sheriff sale the prospective purchaser must intervene in the court action ordering sale of the Property. The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has held that third-party purchasers (i.e., winning bidders) have legal standing to intervene in real estate sheriff sale actions. See e.g., St. Charles B &L. Assoc. v. Hamilton, 179 A. 604, 605 (Pa. 1935). Thus, if your bid at the auction was successful you have legal standing to intervene and ask the Court to complete the sale. Once the petition to intervene is granted the third-party purchaser must file the motion to complete sheriff sale.
Rule to Show Cause Motion to Complete Sheriff Sale
After the motion to complete sheriff sale is filed the court will schedule a hearing. At the hearing the court will hear the motion. The judge will likely weigh the equitable interests on both sides. For example, if the property has not been sold since auction the Court may order the sale. On the other hand, if the prior owner has filed a petition to redeem or set aside sheriff sale the Court may decline to complete the sale. Similarly, the Court will heavily weigh the position of the assistant city solicitor representing the city at the Motion Hearing. If the motion to complete sheriff sale is unopposed and the city joins in the motion, the petition to complete sale may be granted.
Finalizing the Completed Sale
If the Court grants the motion to complete sale the third-party purchaser must finalize the sale pursuant to Court Order. In most cases, the Judge orders the petitioner to pay the outstanding purchase price to the Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia within thirty (30) days. Once the purchase price is paid in full the sheriff will execute a deed transfer to the third-party purchaser. When the deed is recorded with the City of Philadelphia the bidder will become legal and record owner.
If you have any questions about filing a motion to complete sheriff sale, please contact our office at 267-535-9776 for a free evaluation of your legal matter. Most petitions to complete sheriff sale are relatively cost-effective and can be filed for less than $2,000.00 including courts costs.