As sheriff sales resume in Philadelphia, it has become increasingly apparent that after a year without such sales – and with them resuming in an online-only capacity – that a number of questions and misconceptions about the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office and its role in the foreclosure process have persisted. Most, if not all, of these questions can be answered by going to our FAQ page or watching the town halls we have conducted on our YouTube page.


Since its founding in 1682, the Office of the Philadelphia Sheriff has been responsible for a wide range of duties – but it has never foreclosed on properties. The foreclosure process is a court process that can take years. The Sheriff’s Office is not involved in the foreclosure process. It executes the orders of the court to sell properties that have gone through the lengthy, multi-stage foreclosure process to arrive at the point of being put up for Sheriff Sale.


The Sheriff’s authority to conduct sales
The Sheriff’s Office Sheriff Sale process is controlled by and mandated by the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure for handling the properties pre-sale, in-sale and post-sale. The same rules that were in place for in-person sales will also be in place for online sales. The only thing that has changed about the sale process is that it will now be taking place online. Just as the other counties throughout the commonwealth have abided by these rules to restart their own Sheriff Sales without issue, the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office is committed to doing the same.

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1.Based on the health and safety recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") and Pennsylvania Department of Health ("Department of Health") due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the scheduled sale shall be conducted virtually at Bid4Assets.com ("Bid4Assets").




3. All bidders must complete the Bid4Assets online registration process to participate in the auction ("Auction"). All bidders must submit a One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1,500.00) deposit ("Deposit") plus a Thirty-Five Dollars ($35.00) processing fee to Bid4Assets before the start of the Auction. Such single Deposit shall be associated with the Auction held as of this date ("Auction Date") and shall allow a bidder to bid on all of the properties that are listed on the Auction Date.


4. All properties are sold "AS IS" with NO expressed or implied warranties or guarantees whatsoever. The Sheriff and Bid4Assets shall not be liable as a result of any cause whatsoever for any loss or damage to the properties sold. In anticipation of participating in the Auction and purchasing a property, the bidder assumes all responsibility for due diligence. It is the responsibility of the bidder to investigate any and all liens, encumbrances and/or mortgages held against the property which may not be satisfied by the post-sale Schedule of Proposed Distribution under Pa. R.C.P. 3136 ("Schedule of Proposed Distribution").


5. The opening bid for all tax delinquent properties will be One Thousand Six Hundred Dollars ($1,600.00). The opening bid for tax lien auctions will vary (see auctions for details). By close of business the day after the auction, the purchaser is responsible for 10% of the purchase price for each property purchased or $600 whichever is greater. Plus a buyer’s premium of 10% of the total purchase price of each property purchased. The purchaser shall pay the balance of 90% of the purchase price for each property purchased plus a $35 processing fee by 5:00 PM EST on the fifteenth (15th) calendar day following the Auction Date unless that day falls on a holiday or weekend day, then the balance is due on the next business day by 5:00 PM EST. Payments are due as stated above, NO EXTENSIONS AND NO EXCEPTIONS.


6. Failure to comply with the Conditions of Sale including, but not limited to, the failure to pay the remaining balance by any due date (the 10% down payment due date is the day following the auction; the 90% balance due date is 15 days after the auction date) and complying with all post-sale instructions required by the Sheriff and Bid4Assets, shall result in a default ("Default") and the down payment shall be forfeited by the bidder.


7. The highest bidder shall be responsible for any and all post-sale costs that are imposed by law, which are incurred by the Sheriff. Please be advised that Realty Transfer Taxes have been calculated and included in the bid amount.


8. On any auction that results in a third-party sale, the bidder who was directly outbid by the highest bidder will be given the option to register as a second bidder. If the second bidder accepts this option, he/she agrees to purchase the property for the same price as the highest bidder. The second bidder shall deposit 10% of the purchase price by 5:00 PM EST on the first (1st) business day following the auction date. On that date, the second bidder will be apprised of the status of the winning bidder’s deposit and shall be told his/her 10% will be kept on deposit. The second bidder shall also be told he/she is liable for the 90% balance fifteen (15) calendar days from this date if the highest bidder does not comply. If the highest bidder did not complete the sale, the second bidder will have five (5) calendar days to complete the sale. If that 5th day falls on a holiday or weekend day, then the balance is due on the next business day by 5:00 PM EST. If the second bidder is non-compliant he/she will forfeit his/her deposit to Sheriff. If the highest bidder completes the transaction, the second bidder will get his/her deposit refunded within 10 business days.


9. If a bidder wins multiple properties and does not comply with the conditions of sale for each property he is deemed in Default and all of the consequences of a Default will apply.


10. The Sheriff’s Office, in its sole discretion, may cancel the sale after the auction closes for any reason.


11. The Plaintiff, pursuant to Court Order, may cancel the sale after the auction closes for any reason.


12. The tax servicer, pursuant to Court Order, may cancel the sale after the auction closes for any reason.


13. All bidding after the minimum bid, as described in Paragraph 4., shall be in increments of at least One Hundred Dollars ($100.00).


14. The winning bidder must file a certificate of compliance with the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office. If the Sheriff’s grantee is to be anyone other than the winning bidder registered with Bid4Assets, a notarized written assignment must be filed with the Sheriff’s Office of Philadelphia. Both the bidder and the assignee must file a certificate of compliance with the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office. Failure of either the bidder or the assignee to obtain a certificate of compliance will be treated as a failure to meet the conditions of sale and result in the forfeiture of the 10% deposit.


15. The Sheriff will not acknowledge a deed poll to any individual or entity using an unregistered fictitious name and may, at the discretion of the Sheriff, require proof of identity of the purchaser or the registration of fictitious names. The bid of an unregistered fictitious name shall be forfeited as if the bidder failed to meet the terms of sale.


16. The Sheriff reserves the right to refuse purchase from bidders who have failed to enter deposits, failed to make settlement or for any other reason at Sheriff’s sole discretion and further reserves the right to deny access to future sales for a period of time as determined by the Sheriff.


17. The Sheriff will file in the Prothonotary’s office a Schedule of Distribution Thirty (30) Days from the date of sale of Real Estate. Distribution will be made in accordance with the Schedule unless exceptions are filed thereto within Ten (10) days thereafter. Any balance exceeding the payouts per the Schedule of Distribution and Exceptions thereto, shall be paid to the homeowner at the time of sale.


18. The properties at today’s sale may be subject to a right of redemption, meaning the property owner or other parties of legal interest in the property may file a petition to get the property back after the sale. Generally there are 9 months to redeem the property from the date the Sheriff's office acknowledges the deed for non-vacant properties. We cannot provide any advice as to whether a right to redeem exists on a specific property. If you have questions regarding redemption and protecting your rights we advise that you speak to an attorney.


19. The Philadelphia Land Bank will be bidding on certain properties that have been identified on the Sheriff Sale list. The Land Bank's bids are known as "priority bids," which are authorized by the Commonwealth's Land Bank Act. The properties the Land Bank will be bidding on are being offered for sale at the City's opening bid. However, because the Land Bank has the exclusive right to acquire these properties, no bids other than the Land Bank bids will be accepted.


20. When the Sheriff’s Deed Poll is issued to the winning bidder, he/she becomes the official new owner of the property. If the property is occupied, the new owner must start a judicial procedure for ejectment to have the occupant removed.


21. All auctions are conducted pursuant to Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure and the local rules of the City and County of Philadelphia.


WARNING: All Sheriff’s Sales are strictly monitored for any and all suspicious and fraudulent activity (Including but not limited to Computer, Identity, Bank, Wire, etc.). If the Sheriff’s office detects any suspicious and/or fraudulent activity during any sale, at the Sheriff’s discretion, the bidder’s account shall be suspended for whatever action deemed appropriate. Furthermore, those individuals face both criminal and civil liability and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

EFF 4/9/2021 

Thank you to the thousands of people who have participated in the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office's first town hall dedicated to the transition of Sheriff Sales to an online model – if you haven't seen it yet, click here to view.

So many excellent questions were asked during the town hall about all aspects of the Sheriff Sales that we have compiled them – and the answers – all here for quick reference. If you have a question that is not included in this list, please email Public Information Officer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and he will get an answer for you. And please join us for the next town hall on March 29, 2021, at 1 p.m. This event will feature a hands-on demonstration of how online Sheriff Sales will work.

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Philadelphia, PA – Sheriff Rochelle Bilal and the Office of the Philadelphia Sheriff announce that Sheriff Sales will resume virtually on April 6, 2021. 

Due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements necessary to protect bidders and employees, it has not been safe to hold in-person auctions. Following a detailed analysis of the available options, Sheriff Sales of foreclosed and tax lien properties will resume via online auctions. Until now, these sales, which are a result of mortgage foreclosures and money judgments, 
have been in-person auctions conducted by the Sheriff's Office.


The Office of the Sheriff has selected online auction company Bid4Assets (Bid4Assets.com) to produce the virtual sales. The company has significant experience successfully hosting online auctions and currently performs the same auction services in Pennsylvania for Montgomery, Bucks, Berks, Monroe, and Adams Counties.

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This year marks the 45th anniversary of the official designation of February as Black History Month – just a drop in the bucket of time pooled from centuries of Black people making history in the United States, and of this country’s history being thrust upon us. 

As we strive to place special emphasis upon all that Black people have endured, survived, and accomplished in America, we need to honor our recent history, which both shows how far we have come – and how far we have to go. Months of civil protest brought about by the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others; the echoes of countless past health care injustices heard in the disproportionate number of Black people succumbing to COVID-19; and the ugly spectacle of so many Confederate flags, hats and shirts defiling the Capitol during last month’s insurrection – this course of human events has underscored that not only must the struggle continue, but it must be memorialized at the same time.

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On January 20, 2021, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris was sworn in as Vice President of the United States. The election of the first woman, the first African American and the first Indian American woman as Vice President was a historic moment for America.

Vice President Harris’s monumental victory is the clearest evidence yet for both young Black girls and women of color everywhere that they can achieve anything if they work hard enough. Her victory will undoubtedly create more opportunities for more women leaders to rise, and more diversity in leadership positions, and employment and business opportunities.

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Philadelphia, PA -- The Office of the Philadelphia Sheriff underwent an historic change in leadership when Rochelle Bilal was sworn into office on January 6, 2020. The Bilal administration inherited a host of organizational, cultural, and financial issues from the previous administration. Nevertheless, the newly elected Sheriff was up to the challenge of implementing the reforms needed to move forward. Sheriff Bilal went to work on day one by forming a 23-member transition team to review all departments under her leadership. Surveys were issued to all departments to create a clear picture of the office’s strengths and challenges.

Today, one year later, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this office has made significant, quantifiable improvements and accomplishments.

Watch the one-year review short documentary here: The Philadelphia Sheriff Office - One Year Review - YouTube

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Philadelphia, PA -- On the national holiday bearing his name, we celebrate the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This year, more than ever, current events have caused me to turn even more intently to his speeches and quotes. Dr. King understood the power of words: their ability to encourage, inspire, educate, comfort, and enlighten. These words still resonate on what would have been his 92nd year as a change agent in our society: “The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win, and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat.”

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As we recover from the unprecedented attack on our Capitol, our democracy, and our fellow brothers and sisters in arms who valiantly defended their stations, we must now also stand ready for any other attacks of domestic terrorism that may occur in the days leading up to the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on January 20.

Last week’s violent riot, vandalism and looting of the literal heart of the American democratic process by thousands of people inflamed and encouraged by President Donald Trump was shocking – but not surprising. It was just the latest, most despicable example yet of how this president has sought to divide this country and destroy tradition. The peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy.

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Philadelphia, PA – After Sheriff Bilal won the primary election to become Philadelphia’s first female Sheriff, but prior to her transition into the role—it was brought to her attention that many improprieties had been transpiring in the Armory. Sheriff Bilal, being a retired Philadelphia Police officer for 27 years, realized the significance of such accusations and directed the individuals relaying the information to the City Controller’s Office so that an investigation, as well as an internal audit could be conducted. Once she took office, she instructed her Chief Deputy to assist with the investigation by supplying any, and all, information requested by the Controller’s Office.

Further, she began to address issues with the Armory that the office uncovered by her transition team.

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