Ejectments in Philadelphia

13 Replies

Hi there,

Anyone deal with ejectments in Philadelphia and/or deal with purchasing an occupied property? I just want to get an idea of the worst case scenario if the property is purchased occupied.  The property would be purchased with a clean title and I would have an attorney handle the ejectment, but I am wondering if there have been scenarios where the judge ruled in favor of the occupant that they can stay in the property even if they don't own it.

Thanks-

Bev

267-560-7712

Who is in the property? A tenant with a lease? If so, they can stay until the lease expires.

This post has been removed.

Are you posting about a foreclosure property of some sort?  If not, then is it a rental?  Some more info needed. 

Hi there,

Thanks for your response. Here are the details:

- Seller is the executor of her father's will

- The will is valid and recorded

-  The occupant is the wife of the decedent, they were married for about 20+ years before he passed.  She has lived there since they have been married and there is NO LEASE.

-  According to the seller, her father took his wife off the will before he passed away because they were having marital problems (i.e., wife was on drugs, etc.).  He was sick and had a psychiatric evaluation in case his mental state was in question because he was sick.

I have spoken with various Real Estate and Estate attorneys regarding this and have been told that given the details of the scenario, I "should" be able to eject.  I am just wondering if anyone has experience where they have purchased a property, clean title, etc. and they weren't able to eject- therefore being left with a property that is occupied.  And if so, what course of action was taken IF the judge ruled in the occupants favor.   Just trying to get an idea of the worse case scenario.

Thanks so much-

Bev

267-560-7712
Originally posted by @Beverly Buella :

Hi there,

Thanks for your response. Here are the details:

- Seller is the executor of her father's will

- The will is valid and recorded

-  The occupant is the wife of the decedent, they were married for about 20+ years before he passed.  She has lived there since they have been married and there is NO LEASE.

-  According to the seller, her father took his wife off the will before he passed away because they were having marital problems (i.e., wife was on drugs, etc.).  He was sick and had a psychiatric evaluation in case his mental state was in question because he was sick.

I have spoken with various Real Estate and Estate attorneys regarding this and have been told that given the details of the scenario, I "should" be able to eject.  I am just wondering if anyone has experience where they have purchased a property, clean title, etc. and they weren't able to eject- therefore being left with a property that is occupied.  And if so, what course of action was taken IF the judge ruled in the occupants favor.   Just trying to get an idea of the worse case scenario.

Thanks so much-

Bev

Interesting, as there seems to be quite a bit of estate sales going on in and around Philly lately. I'd like to know the answers myself. @Bev please keep us posted if you choose to go forward on this deal as to how it turned out. 

Kudos,

Mary

You should research the names that are actually on the deed.  Husband and wife usually buy a house together, and hold it as joint tenants (with rights of survivorship). If his name is the only one on the deed, the house passes to the decedent's estate - but you could still run into a scenario like @Will Barnard  has with his "occupants from hell" thread ...

I don't know the laws in PA, but I recommend you proceed with caution. As Steve pointed out, if you want to know what the worst case scenario is, read this thread: http://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/67/topics/6494...

It would be my suggestion to get this under contract with the provision that it be delivered vacant at closing. Your other option, knock on the door and inform the occupant you will be the new owner of the home soon and since there is no lease, you intend to take physical possession. Obviously be careful with your words here. Ask what her plans are and if she would like, you would be happy to pay to get her a moving truck to move her belongings. Next offer could be a cash for keys offer.

Just make sure at time of closing you get possession.

Whoa that is definitely a worse case scenario- going on 4 years??!  Thanks for that info.  I'll run it by an attorney over here and see if that's typical here in PA.  Yup, we have tried doing cash for keys- she's responded but it hasn't worked.  Anyhow, I'll keep you posted.  

267-560-7712

Again, without knowing your state laws, particularly involving family court, the wife could file a suit claiming title to the property (even though deceased husband took her out if will) and fight that fact. If you close without possession and she files such a suit or similar, you will be stuck in family court fighting a battle. Does not matter if you are in the right or if she has no case, the filing and case itself is all that it will take to turn your deal into a loser.

So again,proceed with extreme caution without possession.

Unless this is peculiar to PA laws, an ejectment is usually a term reserved for special situation related to possession that don't fit the category of an unlawful detainer. 

In my experiences and legal observations, regaining possession of real estate from an uncooperative surviving spouse can be tricky, especially in community property states. 

From a deal-making standpoint, it may be easier for a third party buyer who's not a party to the estate or a relative to step in and work out a plan. On the other hand, if you have an obstinant interloper-in-possession with a "living better through chemistry" issue, rational thinking will be for naught. 

Unless this is a super-bargain and you have an abundance of patience, I'd be wary of this deal without a clause requiring a vacant property be delivered prior to close.

Just as an update, it took about 2 1/2 years to get the occupant out.  I ended up selling it AS-IS after it was vacant and my buyer was able to make a nice profit.  Lots that I learned and I'd probably do it again. However, I did not intend on it taking that long- I thought it would take around 1 year.  I'm not gonna lie, it was definitely stressful, but it helped that I did my due diligence before buying it.

267-560-7712

@Beverly Buella Wow, hats off to your patience. I am stuck in a situation right now where the bank is the owner and never bothered to kick out the owner from the property. She has been living on the property since 2013 without paying mortgage. 

I am scheduled to close in a week and just trying everything to motivate her to move out. I have tried several strategies including cash for keys, offered her an apartment at 30% off market rent, etc. But, she just would not accept anything. She has been foreclosed, bankrupt and has no other choice. But I am not sure why would not she. 

Looks like you are experienced in this situation. Do you know any other card she could play once I close? Any advise or suggestion will help.

@Harshil Kakadia Thanks for your feedback.  To clarify, as of now, you don't own the property, the bank does and you will be buying it in a week with the occupant, correct?

Have you tried talking with family members to have them reason with her?  Is she the previous owner or is she a tenant? Did she inherit the property?  What I did was find out all that information and then I asked a few real estate attorneys whether my occupant had a strong case to stay in the property (prior to buying it) and everyone said no. Which is why I didn't expect to be in a scenario that would take 2 1/2 years to get her out. In the end, they were correct, but I don't know if I'd buy it if I didn't know all those answers.

267-560-7712

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.