If you were the winning bidder at a Philadelphia Sheriff Sale but did not pay the balance due within thirty (30) days of sale, you may still be able to purchase the property. Pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. 2327 you may intervene and file a motion to complete terms of sheriff sale. Before the motion to complete sheriff sale can be filed you must intervene in the civil action that ordered the property sold. To intervene you must show the court that you have a legally enforceable interest in the underlying action. Therefore, the first petition to file is a Petition to Intervene.
Third Party Purchasers Can Intervene
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has held that purchasers of real estate at Sheriff’s Sale have an interest in the Property. See e.g., St. Charles B &L. Assoc. v. Hamilton, 179 A. 604, 605 (Pa. 1935). Therefore, if you purchased the Property at sheriff sale you may intervene in the underlying tax and/or mortgage foreclosure action. The court shall require that you serve all petitions on interested parties including the City of Philadelphia, the owner of the property, and the Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia. If the Petition to Intervene is granted then you may file a Motion to Complete Terms of Sheriff Sale.
Motion to Complete Sheriff Sale
At the hearing the judge will hear the reasons for why the motion to complete sheriff sale should be granted. She will likely consider whether any prejudice will be suffered by granting the motion. For example, if the prior owner of the property has filed a petition to set aside sheriff sale and is contesting the sale, the judge may be less likely to grant the motion. Conversely, if the City of Philadelphia supports the motion to complete sale (Example: there are no other bidders on the property, the prior owner is deceased, and the prevailing bid covers outstanding taxes on the Property) then the court may allow you to complete the sale. The court may look to equitable interests in deciding whether to complete the sale.
Finalizing the Completed Sale
If the Court grants the motion to complete sale then the third-party purchaser must comply with the Court order. The Order usually requires the petitioner to pay the sheriff the outstanding balance owed within thirty (30) days. After the balance is paid the Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia will transfer the property by deed to purchaser. Bidder is then legal and record owner of the Property. If prior owner or other individuals remain at the Property speak with a Philadelphia Landlord Tenant Lawyer about filing and ejectment or eviction to remove unwanted occupants from the Property.