For properties with outstanding tax debts, the City of Philadelphia has the right to request a court-appointed “receiver” (also known as a “sequestrator”) to collect rent, manage a property, and pay its expenses—including current and delinquent taxes—until any debts to the City are paid off.
This arrangement is known as the Real Estate Tax Receivership Program.
Properties at risk of entering receivership
If you are delinquent in paying your Real Estate Tax, the City will notify you by certified mail to alert you that it will be requesting that the Court appoint a receiver. If you do not make arrangements to take care of your debts by the date stated in the letter, the City will file a petition with the Court of Common Pleas for the appointment of a receiver.
Failing to pay your debt to the City and ending up in receivership may lead to mortgage default.
You can prevent Real Estate Tax Receivership before the Court appoints a receiver by paying your delinquent bills or by entering into and remaining current on a City-approved payment agreement.
Make a payment
To make payment, use the payment coupon sent to you in the mail. Visit the City’s Real Estate Tax portal to pay by e-check, credit, or debit card, or call (877) 309-3710 to pay by credit card. You can pay in person at the Concourse of the Municipal Services Building at 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
If you can’t pay in full
Contact us at (215) 686-3629 if you need help making payments on time. Our customer representatives will review your file to determine if you’re eligible to make payments on an installment plan.
Owning a property in receivership
If you don’t resolve your debt to the City and a receiver is appointed, the receiver will be authorized by the Court to direct you to turn over the keys, leases, and other information about the property. If you do not comply, the receiver will still take over management of the building and will commence collecting rents and paying expenses.
During receivership, the ownership of the property stays the same as before the Court appoints the receiver. However, all decisions about the sale, lease, or financing of the property will be made by the receiver, in consultation with the City and the Court.
You do not have the right to collect income from the property, or sell, lease, or refinance the property while it’s under receivership. The receivership ends only when all debts to the City and receiver fees are paid.
Receiver responsibilities and powers
Once appointed, the receiver is authorized by the Court to direct you to turn over the keys, leases, and other information about the property to them. The receiver will manage the property until the delinquent taxes and all management fees are paid.
After taking over the building’s management, the receiver will contact tenants and building employees and let them know that they will now be responsible for:
- Collecting tenants’ rent.
- Making necessary repairs.
- Paying expenses for the building, including current and back taxes.
Receivers are experienced managers of troubled properties. They have the power to make improvements, enter into leases, and even sell the property if that is what is necessary to get the debt repaid.
Tenant debts and leases
If a property in receivership has tenants who owe back rent, the receiver will direct the tenants to pay. If they do not, the receiver will remove the tenants and install new ones.
Once a receivership ends, the property owner must honor any lease terms that the receiver put into place. However, the receiver may only enter into leases of up to one year.
The receiver, who is under contract with the City, is paid a management fee out of the rents collected from the building. This fee, along with all delinquent debts, must be repaid before the management of the property can be returned to the owner.
The City has the statutory authority to have its Real Estate Taxes paid before anything else, except the receiver’s fees. The receiver will also pay expenses related to operating the building, provided that funds are available from the rents collected.
Tenants of a property in receivership
Tenants (residential and commercial) of properties with a Court-appointed receiver must pay rent to the receiver and will direct all building management issues to them. The powers of the receiver are laid out in the City’s contract with the receiver, which you can request from the receiver. Failure to pay rent to the receiver can result in eviction.
The receivers are:
Gary F. Seitz, Esquire
Brya M. Keilson, Esquire
601 Walnut Street, Suite 280S
Philadelphia, PA 19106
To verify whether the property is in receivership, please search the civil docket or call (215) 686-3629.