Can a Pennsylvania Sheriff’s Sale be delayed?
Yes, a Pennsylvania Sheriff’s Sale can be delayed, also known as stayed, either at the request of the lender or upon a stay granted by a judge. The Sheriff’s Sale can be delayed up to one hour before the bidding at a foreclosure sale.
The common technique to delay a Sheriff’s Sale is to convince the foreclosing mortgage lender to request it. In many cases, though not all, a lender will delay a Sheriff’s Sale to allow a short sale to reach settlement.
Sometimes a lender will only initiate their request to stay the Sheriff’s Sale a mere two to three days before the sale date. The bank does this just in case the short sale transaction is not working out to their satisfaction, so they can quickly go ahead with the foreclosure sale if necessary. The risk to sellers and agents is that if the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, the Sheriff’s auctioneer might not receive the message to delay the sale. Unfortunately, we have seen this happen on several occasions.
Once the Sheriff’s Sale occurs, it is final. There is no right of redemption in Pennsylvania like there is in some other states.
Another method of delaying a Sheriff’s Sale is for the borrower to declare bankruptcy. A bankruptcy will postpone the foreclosure sale until the trustee or presiding judge releases the real estate from the bankruptcy proceeding. We have seen borrowers declare bankruptcy a mere hour before a Sheriff’s Sale. In those cases, they have been able to delay the foreclosure action for months while the bankruptcy runs its course.
One Other Method
One other technique to delay a Sheriff’s Sale is for the borrower or their representative to convince a judge to grant a stay. Sometimes a judge will delay a Sheriff’s Sale to allow for a possible conciliation. We have seen various judges grant stays from 30 days to six months. The borrower may file a petition seeking relief from the judgment or a delay of the Sheriff’s Sale. Rule 2965 of the Pennsylvania Code states that the petition must be filed within 30 days after the date the Default Judgment is served to the borrower or they may lose their rights to file. We have seen some cases where a petition filed more than 30 days later was considered valid enough to convince a judge to postpone the Sheriff’s Sale.
In rare cases, the Sheriff’s department will postpone a foreclosure sale due to a high volume of cases.