A Philly family fought 40 years to turn drug-infested land into a garden. Then, it was sold at sheriff’s sale.

Esquilin died six months ago, leaving unfinished the business of seeking to safeguard his life’s work. He never knew that three of the four plots that make up the garden had already been sold at sheriff’s sale.

News Story (Pennsylvania)

Samantha Melamed
Philadelphia Inquirer
April 18, 2019

Tags: Sheriff's Sales

Organizations mentioned/involved: Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia


Now, Cartagena and pro bono legal advocates are arguing that the city and its tax collector never posted notice on the property as required by law — and that Philadelphia Common Pleas Court is not holding sufficient hearings to review whether the city is fulfilling its obligation to notify all interested parties.

If they can get the sale vacated, they’ll argue that the family has the right to own the garden through a rarely invoked law around adverse possession, that says after 21 years of openly squatting on a property, a person can earn the right to own it.