How the Foreclosure Process Works in Pennsylvania

Once a borrower defaults on their mortgage for at least 60 days, a lender will send the borrower a Notice of Intent to Foreclose (Act 6 Notice). For borrower’s who qualify, the lender may also send Act 91 Notice for the Homeowners’ Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program.

After one month, if a default is not curred by the borrower, the lender will have a foreclosure attorney prepare a Complaint that will be filed in the Court of Common Pleas where the property is located. The borrower will then be served with notice of the complaint. The borrower must file an Answer within 20 days or they may lose their right to contest the foreclosure. Once a borrower is served with a complaint, they should immediately seek the advice of a qualified foreclosure defense attorney.

If a borrower does not respond, a default judgment is entered and the foreclosure will proceed. If a borrower answers the complaint, the case will be assigned to pre-trial conference, arbitration, or mediation to see if the lender and borrower can come to terms that allows to the borrower to keep their home or would allow the borrower to walk away without going through foreclosure. If a resolution cannot be reached, the matter would be scheduled for a hearing and a judge would enter a judgment following the hearing.

If a default judgment is obtained, a Sheriff’s Sale is scheduled to sell the property at a publicly noticed sale. One month after the date is set, each mortgagor on the loan is sent notice of the sale, which will be held the following month. The borrower must be given at least 30 days notice prior to the sale as well. At the sheriff’s sale, the property will then be deeded to the purchaser, if any. If no purchase is made, the deed to the property will be titled back to the lender. The borrower will then be evicted from the property following the sale if they still reside on the premises. In some cases, the sale may be postponed up to 100 days from the announcement of the sale.

The entire process from receipt of Notice of Intent to Foreclose to the actual foreclosure takes approximately four to six months.

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