I am a landlord in Pennsylvania and am in the process of an eviction of a very bad tenant. There will be a judgement for back rent and damages, however, the personal property of the tenant is pure junk with one exception.

The exception is a car that has a lien on it. The current loan holder of the vehicle has a lien and can turn off the vehicle remotely and at will.

Is the vehicle subject to seizure for repayment?

Once the property has been seized by the Sheriff, what is the procedure for the disposal of the asset according to law? (In general terms.)

For example, Would I be able to attain the right to sell the property? How would the original lien be settled? If there is insufficient asset value to properly secure the amount owed to me taking into account the previous lien, how is that settled?

I realize this seems a bit broad, however, this question should be answerable in just a few simple paragraphs. Any reference to actual PA law will certainly help to keep the answer short.

I have been going around and around looking for the answer in PA law, and so far, what I have seen pertains to Commonwealth seizure of assets in criminal proceedings and is not clear in civil proceedings.

  • An internet search for "how to collect a judgment in Pennsylvania" ought toanswer your question. – phoog May 4 '16 at 5:45
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    @phoog Yes and no. Many, not only contradict themselves, but make no mention of existing liens, rights, etc. For example, in taking the car, I realize the sheriff can sell the car, however, I am not sure if the lien holders have more rights to payment than I would (like it would be for a mortgage) of if I can fully satisfy my judgment first and return the rest to the lien holders or the defendant. I am still looking, but it is a bit slow because I am so busy with too many (equally) important things. I would read the law if I had a reference to civil asset seizures. – closetnoc May 4 '16 at 13:40
  • It would depend on the nature of the liens. The liens are prioritized and yours might or might not get higher priority than any existing liens. If your tenantis employed you can also garnish his wages, so assets are not the only factor. – phoog May 4 '16 at 14:17
  • @phoog In this case, it would be a seizure by the sheriff which means that the State retains the rights and makes the sale of assets and not me. So I assume that the State has rights beyond most, but none of that is exactly clear when it comes to a lien. I am expecting damages. This is a professional bad tenant. However, between eviction and sheriff sale, I should be able to get a second judgment. (hopefully) So much digging and planning along with a seriously sick Mom, a sick cat, the craziness of the apartments, all of the spring work at the homestead, all have me divided. – closetnoc May 4 '16 at 14:42
  • The state makes the sale, but the sale is to satisfy your lien, perhaps among others. The state doesn't take over your lien. If the owner has a loan on the vehicle, for example, that lien will have to be satisfied before yours. – phoog May 4 '16 at 17:05

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