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Upcoming Changes To Indiana Sheriff's Sales

In this year’s Indiana legislative session, the General Assembly enacted House Bill 1048, which becomes effective July 1, 2022. Here are some of the changes that will impact Indiana foreclosure law.

Electronic sales. HB 1048 amended I.C. 32-29-7-3 to provide that sheriff’s sales may be conducted electronically as long as they comply with all other sale requirements under the statute. Electronic sales include the ability for sheriffs to receive electronic payments for the real estate. The amended statute says nothing further about the electronic sale process. Thus, the local sheriff’s offices will set up their own rules and regulations related to such things as bidding procedures and closing on the sales. The new law would appear to open the door for an online auction to be conducted by a private auctioneer in conjunction with I.C. 32-30-10-9.

Fees. I.C. 32-29-7-3(j) increases the sheriff’s sale administrative fee from $200 to $300 “for actual costs directly attributable to the administration of the sale….” The fee is payable by the plaintiff and is due before the sale.

Bad actors. HB 1048 added I.C. 29-7-4.5. This is the so-called “bad actor” or “slum lord” measure that caught the attention of the media this year. The language of the new law is quite dense and does not apply to plaintiffs or lenders foreclosing on mortgages but only to third-party bidders. Essentially, the act attempts to exclude certain third parties from participating in sheriff’s sales who, for example, are delinquent in the payment of real estate taxes on other property they own.

    Affirmation. To that end, the new I.C. 32-29-7-4.6 provides that any person bidding at a sheriff’s sale must sign a statement that says:

Indiana law prohibits a person who owes delinquent taxes, special assessments, penalties, interest, or costs directly attributable to real property under IC 6-1.1 from bidding on or purchasing property at a sheriff's sale. I hereby affirm under the penalties for perjury that I am not prohibited from bidding under IC 32-29-7-4.5 and that I do not owe delinquent taxes, special assessments, penalties, interest, costs directly attributable to real property under IC 6-1.1, amounts from a final adjudication in favor of a political subdivision, any civil penalties imposed for the violation of a building code or county ordinance, or any civil penalties imposed by a county health department. I also affirm that I am not purchasing property on behalf of or as an agent for a person who is prohibited from bidding under IC 32-29-7-4.5. I further acknowledge that a person who knowingly or intentionally provides false information on this affidavit commits perjury, a Level 6 felony.

    Foreign Businesses. Moreover, the new I.C. 32-29-7-4.7 prohibits non-Indiana businesses from bidding at an Indiana sheriff’s sale. This rule does not apply to a party foreclosing on a mortgage, however, such as a plaintiff lender or a defendant mortgagee.
Part of my practice includes representing parties in connection with sheriff’s sales. If you need assistance with a similar matter, please call me at 317-639-6151 or email me at [email protected]. Also, don’t forget that you can follow me on Twitter @JohnDWaller or on LinkedIn, or you can subscribe to posts via RSS or email as noted on my home page.