With the increasing distribution of the vaccine, things are starting to open up and get back to normal. Unfortunately, this can actually be frightening for struggling homeowners who have been relying on moratoriums to keep their houses safe from foreclosures. Philadelphia is one town that is moving forward with sheriff sales, even if they have to be done differently than before the pandemic hit.
What is Changing about Foreclosures and Sheriff Sales
Last year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court put a halt on all sheriff auctions. While this not only prevented the spread of the virus, it also gave homeowners the chance to remain in their houses during the roughest part of the pandemic. Now, the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office has announced that it intends to start the auctions back up next month, but this time the listings will all be accessible online. This is a measure that has been put in place to prevent large gatherings but online sales are set to be permanent in Philadelphia.
At this point in time, there are approximately 350 properties set to be auctioned online.
How Online Sales Work
When sheriff sales are done online, it’s possible for those interested in buying to view properties and place bids all from the comfort of their own homes. This diminishes the need for crowds, thus cutting down on the risk of spreading disease and eliminating concerns for those who want to social distance and stay home. The online sheriff sales are being shown through a company called Bid4Assets, and Philadelphia isn’t the first town to use their services for sheriff sales. In fact, the company is seeing multiple towns reach out for help hosting sales online as vaccination numbers increase and signal an end to the pandemic .
Online Sales Have Mixed Community Support
Sheriff Rochelle Bilal stepped forward to show support for the online sales, explaining that they are a safety measure that’s worth taking. Bilal told reporters that the city is court-ordered to sell these properties, but the pandemic has made it impossible. By moving things online, potential buyers can stay safe and access all the information from the comfort of their homes. But there is also opposition to the online sales.
Helen Gym, a Council Member, pointed out that sales shouldn’t be resumed until homeowners and renters were able to take full advantage of upcoming assistance.
What Homes are at Risk
Sheriff sales take in homes or properties that have been foreclosed on or are behind on tax payments and auction them off to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, during the pandemic many families found themselves unable to cover mortgage and tax fees, leaving a torrent of homes soon to go up for auction.
What You Can Do if You’re at Risk
If you’re behind on your taxes or mortgage payments, the reopening of sheriff sales can be frightening. Thankfully, there are options and ways for you to prevent having your property sold to strangers. Filing for bankruptcy is often the best way to potentially save your home until you can catch up or get your finances in order.
If the upcoming sheriff sales have you nervous, it’s time to take action now! Contact our team of attorneys to get a grasp on what you can do to save your property and prevent homelessness!