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Collection of Rent after Sheriff’s Sale


By David M. Tkacik, Esq.
September 23, 2017


Occasionally, properties purchased at a sheriff’s sale by a third party bidder are occupied by someone.  This person may be the former owner or a tenant of the former owner. If the occupant was a tenant of the former owner, the purchaser may legally collect rent from the tenant; however when does that right to collect rent start?  Is it the date of the sheriff’s sale, the date of the deed, or the date the deed was recorded? 

Pennsylvania’s Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951, as amended, contains relevant guidance:

Collection of rent by purchasers at sheriff’s and judicial sales.

In the case of a tenant whose right of possession is not paramount to that of the purchaser at a sheriff’s or other judicial sale, the latter shall have the right as a landlord to collect by assumpsit or to distrain for rent from the date of the acknowledgment of his deed, except for such fractional part of a quarter as the tenant, if a farmer or one engaged in raising crops or produce, or such fractional part of a month in other cases, as the tenant may, in accordance with the terms of his letting, have paid as an advance payment prior to the date of the acknowledgment of said deed. In the case of a tenant whose right of possession is paramount to that of such purchaser, advance rent paid prior to the date of acknowledgment of the purchaser’s deed shall be deemed properly paid though paid prior to its due date, unless it is so paid with the actual notice of the pendency of the proceedings resulting in the sale or with intent to defeat the rights of a purchaser thereat.

[. . . ]

68 P.S. § 250.304 (emphasis added).

This Section of the law is a bit antiquated but, it is clear that the purchaser has the right to collect rent from the date of the notary acknowledgment.  It is neither the recording date, nor the date of the deed, that controls. 

 

David M. Tkacik, Esq. is the proprietor of Tkacik Law Office, a real estate and civil litigation law firm (www.TkacikLawOffice.com).  He can be reached at 412-414-9644 or DTkacik@TkacikLawOffice.com.