March 31, 2014
by Lisa A. Lee
KML Law Group, P.C. – USFN Member (Pennsylvania)
On March 7, 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court approved a recommendation of the Civil Procedural Rules Committee to amend Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure 3129.3 and 3135. These amendments do not place any new requirements on servicers but, in one instance, do require additional actions to be taken by counsel when a sheriff’s sale is postponed to a new date.
Rule 3129.3 governs the procedure for postponing or continuing sheriff’s sales. The current rule requires that a postponed sale date must be publicly announced at the sale where the property was originally scheduled to be sold, but does not require any further notice to any party of the postponed sale date. The amendment to the Rule sets forth a new requirement that the plaintiff must: (1) file a notice of the date of the continued sale with the prothonotary at least 15 days prior to the continued sale; and (2) file a certificate with the sheriff confirming the filing of the notice.
The amended Rule also provides that the sheriff shall continue the sale to the next available date if the notice and certificate have not been timely filed. The amended Rule is specific that non-compliance with these requirements is not a basis for setting aside a sheriff’s sale unless raised prior to the delivery of the sheriff’s deed and, even then, there must be a showing of prejudice for a sale to be set aside for this reason.
Rule 3135 governs the procedure regarding sheriff’s deeds. The amendment to this Rule sets forth alternative options for use in the situation where a plaintiff has failed to provide notice of a sheriff’s sale to a junior lienholder. The amended Rule allows for a petition to be filed requesting either that the junior lien be divested, or that a sheriff’s sale be held at which the junior lienholder in question may be the only other bidder aside from the plaintiff.
These amendments to the Rules were effective April 7, 2014.
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