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Property, lots & housing

Force a sheriff sale

Due to continuing efforts to contain the pandemic, no walk-ins are allowed inside MSB, and satellite offices remain closed. For information on forcing a property during the office closure, send an email to: (Updated: August 13, 2020)

The Department of Revenue has a Sheriff’s Tax Sale Escrow Program that allows members of the public to request that a property be put up to bid at a sheriff sale.

Eligible properties

If you wish to force a sheriff sale, the property in question must:

  • Have an outstanding Real Estate Tax balance that is considered delinquent.
  • Currently be subject to a municipal lien.
  • Not be under a delinquent payment agreement (AGRE).
  • Not have debt collection being pursued by Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson (LBR) or Goehring, Rutter & Boehm (GRB) collection agencies.
  • Not have an account in bankruptcy status.

Visit Revenue’s Real Estate Tax balance site to look up the tax status of the property you’re interested in.

Bankruptcy status does not show on the website, but will be checked upon receipt of your application. If the account is in bankruptcy, your request will be denied.

Requesting sheriff sale certification

Any taxpayer other than the owner of a property may request that the Department of Revenue certify the property for sheriff sale.

Once you’ve determined that a property may eligible for the sheriff sale program, you will need to:

  1. Complete an application for the Sheriff Tax Sale Escrow Program.
  2. Get a certified check or money order made payable to the “City of Philadelphia” in the amount of $1,600.
  3. Bring your application and payment to:

Judicial Sales Unit
Municipal Services Building, Public Concourse Level
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Requestor responsibilities

As the requestor, you must agree to attend the sheriff sale and bid on the property. If your bid is successful, the $1,600 will be credited to the total amount of your bid. If you’re outbid, the $1,600 will be returned to you after the sale without interest.