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Massachusetts Agencies

Sheriff's Sales

Sheriff's Sales

The constitutionality of sheriff's sales has been questioned. See Teschke v. Keller, 38 Mass.App.Ct. 627, 650 N.E.2d 1279 (1995).

Supposedly, however, if the land court entered a decree in an action for a writ of entry, the title would be passable.[1] See Massachusetts Conveyancers' Association Title Standard No. 20. (But note that Incidentally, the reason for an action for a writ of entry under G.L.c. 237 — and not one to quiet the title under G.L.c. 240 — would seem to be a recognition on the part of the Standard of the case of Gilman v. Gilman, 179 Mass. 46, 50 N.E. 452 (1898) that held that a quiet title action would not lie under G.L.c. 240 in the case of a sheriff's sale, since the title was not "clouded" by reason of the sale, with the result that the court was thereby stripped of its jurisdiction to hear such a case. The writ of entry, therefore, would seem to be a substitute effort to get some judicial recognition of the propriety of the sheriff's sale.

1 It is unclear whether Teschke has declared all sheriff's sale defective, or only those where there are subordinate lienors who failed to receive notice. The title standard, however, indicates that compliance with Teschke-like notice requirements will render the title "not on that account defective." It should be noted that under the title standard as revised, such compliance will obviate the necessity of a writ of entry (the paragraphs in the standard are in the disjunctive).