Emergency Measures for Mortgage Foreclosure

Petition to Postpone Sheriff’s Sale of Real Property (Mortgage) 

If your home is scheduled for a Sheriff Sale, you can try going to a judge and asking him or her to postpone the sale while you work out the problem. The courts call this "staying" or "postponing" the sale. You have to file a formal motion with the court to do this. Philadelphia County has created a form petition designed for people without lawyers. This "pro se" petition can be downloaded from https://www.courts.phila.gov/pdf/forms/civil/Petition-to-Postpone-Sheriff-Sale-Mortgage.pdf

The cost of filing the petition is $52.68 + $1.00 per page. It is possible to avoid the filing fee by filing an IFP Petition at the same time the Petition to Postpone is submitted for filing.  

Staying the sale does not stop it forever, it only postpones it. You still need to come up with a way to resolve the mortgage delinquency. 


Petition To Postpone Sheriff's Sale of Real Property can be used to postpone a Sheriff's Sale where: 

  • Client was not served with the Notice of Sheriff’s Sale 
  • Client has entered into a Contract for Sale 
  • Client has obtained a commitment to refinance the mortgage 
  • Client has found the money to pay the arrears and reinstate the mortgage 
  • Client disputes the amount that the mortgage company says is due to reinstate the mortgage 
  • Client is hiring an attorney 
  • The property is listed for sale with a real estate agent 
  • Client is filing for Bankruptcy 
  • Client has met with a Housing Counselor and is in the process of resolving the mortgage delinquency with help from the Housing Counseling Agency 
  • Other reasons (e.g., submission of a completed application for a loan modification, excusable absence from Conciliation Conference) 


If there is a sufficient time before the Sale, Hotline staff can assist with the preparation of documents for the client to file pro se. Several documents must be filled out, including: 

  • Cover sheet 
  • Rule To Show Cause Order 
  • Order 
  • Defendant's Petition To Postpone Sheriff's Sale of Real Property 
  • Defendant's Memorandum of Law in Support of Petition To Postpone Sheriff's Sale 


Avoiding the Filing Fee (IFP Petition) 

Low-income clients can file the petition without paying a fee. They will have to fill out a Petition to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (IFP Petition) and file it along with the Petition to Postpone. 


The CERDO is a one-page form entitled Certification of Premises as Residential - Owner Occupied and Request For Conciliation Conference. The purpose of a CERDO form is to inform the court when a property in a mortgage foreclosure is owner-occupied. This mandates the scheduling of a Conciliation Conference, and depending on the timing of the CERDO, can delay a default judgment or a Sheriff Sale. A CERDO must be filed 10 days before a scheduled Sheriff Sale in order to delay the sale.  

 Clients can file a completed copy of the CERDO form in Room 296. There is no filing fee associated with a CERDO.