House was sold in sheriffs sale and I still have personal property there. What are my rights?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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House was sold in sheriffs sale and I still have personal property there. What are my rights?

My parents house was recently sold in a sheriffs sale. My mother no longer lived there but me and my father did. He passed away in 2017. My name is not on the deed. But I am my fathers beneficiary. I still have personal property in the house and never recieved anything about an amount of time I have to get everything out. Now the locks are changed and there is a notice. But nothing on the notice about how long I have to remove my belongings. What are my legal rights to remove what is mine?

Asked on October 3, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you have the right to remove your belongings, but that's your only right--as you seem to know, you have no right to continue living there. However, the sale of the house did NOT include the sale of your personal property. Contact whomever bought the house in the sheriff's sale (if you don't know, contact the sheriff's office) and ask to arrange to retrieve your belongings. If they will not let you do this, you can go to county court and file a legal action for "unlawful distraint" to get a court order requiring them to allow you to retrieve your property: the clerk's office or customer service office at the courthouse should be able to help you file this action (provide instructions and forms).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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