After reviewing more and more of our Landlord Delinquency Map, I am seeing a pattern with a small number of landlord-investors:   buy a tax foreclosure at Sheriff’s Sale, which conveys a property free and clear of all liens and encumbrances, and guess what?

This is what the Sheriff’s Department does most of the time

The Sheriff’s Department fails to notify the Revenue Department that the property was sold at a tax auction and requires all the tax liens to be expunged.

Note that in a bank mortgage foreclosure, a Sheriff’s Sale only absolves the bank’s lien against the property while it usually fails to settle-up any other liens against a property.  In a tax foreclosure nearly all liens against a property are wiped out.   Why?  It dramatically boosts the chances that someone will want to buy a property at auction.

Given the long history of gross incompetence at the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office, erroneous liens staying on property accounts should be expected.   And I am seeing them.   While the current Sheriff deserves none of the blame for this mess, his predecessor and the Office of the Sheriff surely does.   The recordkeeping disaster at the Philly Sheriff has been well documented.

If you’ve bought property from the Sheriff’s office at a tax auction, be sure to check your property for any back liens.   They can turn up in a title search should you ever finance the property through a traditional bank, and it can cause headaches if you should ever sell your investment property.


An interesting twist appeared a few days ago, covered by the Daily News and Metro.   Richard Knellinger who owns Giamari Furniture has been arrested on perjury to a grand jury last week.   The DA’s office won’t say what he purjured himself on in his grand jury testimony.

2441 Kensington Avenue. The back of this furniture store is where 2 Philadelphia firefighters died when a portion of wall from the Thomas Buck Hosiery Building collapsed.

What makes this even more unusual is that it was members of the ATF who arrested Richard.

Next week marks the 1 year anniversary when neighbors near the Thomas Bucks Hosiery factory submitted complaints about the building to L&I, demanding that the complex be sealed.

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So it’s been a while since I’ve updated you on the fun at the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office.

They finally have a new website.  It’s slow (at the time of this writing), and doesn’t have much more additional stuff than the old site.   Another downer:  they don’t give you any information about the secret process for entering deposits to push properties into Sheriff’s Sale.

Bonus: It also features Jewell Williams in a fancy hat.


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