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My Home Was Sold at Sheriff's Sale - when Do I Have to Leave?

Feb. 20, 2021

Unfortunately, your home was just sold at a New Jersey sheriff's sale, and you are still living in the property. Do you have to get out right away, or can you stay a little while longer until they force you to leave?

The good news is that you can get some additional time to stay in your home even though a sheriff's sale has taken place. For one thing, the sheriff does not transfer the property to the new homeowner for at least 10 days after the sale has taken place. The reason for this is that the homeowner still has ten days after the sale to "redeem" the property. Furthermore, the homeowner has the right to file for bankruptcy during the 10 day period of redemption, and if the homeowner does so, the homeowner might get up to 60 days to "redeem" the property.

Let's assume that you don't file for bankruptcy, and your goal is simply to stay in the home as long as you legally can do so. The length of time you will be permitted to stay there varies from case to case and depends on a number of different factors such as the following:

  1. Is the sheriff's office very busy with evictions, and is the office understaffed? The busier the sheriff's office is, and the less staff they have working on evictions, the longer the amount of time you will be able to stay.

  2. Was the property purchased by a third party who would like to either move in quickly or sell the property and make a quick profit, or did the mortgage company take the property back because there were no bidders at the sheriff's sale? If a third party bought the property, they might act a lot quicker to try to evict you because they either want to move right in, or they want to sell the property.

  3. Even if an eviction date has already been scheduled, you can usually request an emergency hardship hearing before a judge to get an extension of time.

  4. I can give you a real life example - About 1 1/2 years ago, one of my clients called me because she had just received a notice to vacate her former property. When I asked her how long she had been living there since the sheriff's sale had taken place, I believe she said that she had been there for about 9 months after the sheriff's sale, basically living for free. She had to pay utility bills, but she certainly was not making a mortgage payment, nor was she paying rent. I'm not saying this is going to happen to you. It's just an example of how the process can sometimes drag on and on.

Of course you will receive advance notice of the eviction date from the sheriff's office, and that ought to give you adequate time to get your personal belongings out of there.

Since everyone's situation is a little bit different, if you are facing circumstances such as this, and you want to have a better idea as to when you will actually have to leave, you ought to call an attorney who is knowledgeable about these types of situations. If you'd like to call us for a free consultation, we'd be happy to discuss what's been happening with you, and we'll do what we can to help you out. We are here to help, and we wish you the best.