How Does the Right of Redemption Impact Tax Sale Bidders and Former Owners?

A limited Right of Redemption is available for Philadelphia property owners whose property was sold at a tax sale. The sheriff will acknowledge and deliver a deed to the winning bidder after the full bid amount is paid. The winning bidder becomes the new owner with a caveat – the title is defeasible. This means the new owner must transfer the property back to the original owner if successfully redeemed.



Here are the requirements for the Right of Redemption under the Municipal Claims and Tax Liens Act:


#1. The person seeking to redeem the property must be the original owner (or other person such as a decedent’s estate or assignee).


#2. Property must not be “vacant” as defined by the law. The property is vacant unless it was occupied by the original owner or the same individual or basic family unit continuously from 90 days prior to the sale through the date of the acknowledgement of the sheriff’s deed. If the property is legally vacant, there is a right of redemption only before the sheriff’s deed is acknowledged.


#3. The person must file a Petition to Redeem the property within nine months of the date of delivery of the sheriff’s deed to the new owner.


#4. The redemption amount must be paid in full. The redemption amount is not the amount of unpaid taxes. It is the winning bid plus costs, interests, deed recording fees and other requirements as set forth in the law.


Former owners of lost properties and investors considering a tax sale purchase should be aware of the right of redemption.


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