Saturday, June 07, 2008

tax sale - notice - posting

McCartan v. Montgomery Co. Tax Claim Bureau - Commonwealth Court - June 2, 2008 - UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Held: Unverified written document about of posting was not sufficient proof of posting, in the face of uncontradicted testimony of the property owner that the property was not posted. The trial court abused its discretion by finding that the property was properly posted based solely on the unnotarized “Affidavit for Posting of Notice of Public Tax Sale” where unrebutted evidence to the contrary was submitted into the record.

Compliance with the other notice requirements of the Law does not necessarily cure a defect in posting because the posting requirement serves three purposes: to inform the taxpayer of the impending sale; to notify others whose interests in the land may be affected by the sale; and, to notify the public at large of the impending sale.

The law is well-settled in Pennsylvania that a valid tax sale requires the tax claim bureau to strictly comply with all three of the notice provisions of sec. 602 of the law, 72 P.S. §5860.602, or the sale is void. The tax claim bureau must notify the owner of the property in the following three ways: (1) publication of the tax sale at least 30 days prior to the sale; (2) notification of the sale to each owner by certified mail at least 30 days in advance of the sale; and (3) posting notice of the sale on the property at least 10 days prior to the sale. 72 P.S. §§5860.602(a), (e). Strict compliance is necessary to guard against any deprivation of property without due process of law.