Q&A: Publishing sheriff’s sale notices

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From the Kokomo Herald:

Q: I need some information on publishing sheriff’s sale notices. What are the criteria for a newspaper to be able to publish the sales? Legally, what information can a sheriff use regarding where to publish? 

A: Eligibility to carry sheriff’s sale notices (mortgage foreclosures) is the same as other public notice advertisements.

Newspapers must be at least 50 percent paid circulation, be in existence in the same city or town for at least three years, publish at least once a week, and operate with a periodicals mail permit from the U.S. Postal Service.

A couple of things are different about sheriff’s sale notices, however. The sheriff has to place the notice in only one newspaper, even if two would qualify in the same county.

Since the buyer is responsible for payment – the sheriff collects the publication cost from the winning bidder after a sale – the newspaper can charge a rate it determines, rather than the state-set public notice advertising rate.

So the sheriff’s decision could be based on a variety of factors: price, customer service, geography, circulation, friendship with the publisher, anger over past coverage, etc.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.

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