Saturday, September 04, 2010

real property - tax sale - notice - posting - front door v. back door

Schooley v. Beaver Co. Tax Claim Bureau - Cmwlth. Court - September 1, 2010

Tax sale overturned despite property owners having received actual notice of tax sale, where the TCB did not satisfy the statutory requirement of "conspicuous posting" of a notice of the sale on the property, affirming Ban v. Tax Claim Bureau of Washington Co., 698 A.2d 1386 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1997), where as here the notice was posted on the back door of the property. Ban held that " the Tax Sale Law required posting on the front-door of his property where it would have been visible from the public street, providing notice to the public at large, conspicuous and reasonably calculated to provide notice to the general public."

Notice provisions are to be strictly construed, that strict compliance is required to prevent deprivation of property without due process of law, and that if notice is defective, then the sale is void. . . .The courts: “must consider not only whether the posting is sufficient to notify the owner of the pending sale, but provides sufficient notice to the public at large. . . .” Id., 698 A.2d at 1388. Thus, according to Ban, the Tax Sale Law’s notice requirement includes the requirement that notice be posted such that it can be seen by the public, is conspicuous, and is placed in such a manner so as to attract the attention of an ordinary passerby. Actual notice to the property owner does not cure defective posting. Id.; see also O’Brien v. Lackawanna Cnty. Tax Claim Bureau, 889 A.2d 127 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005).

real property - tax sale - proof of mailing - USPS Form 3817

In re York Co. Tax Claim Bureau - Appeal of Luciani - Cmwlth. Court - September 1, 2010

In an issue of first impression, the court held that the only acceptable proof of mailing under the Real Estate Tax Sale Law, 72 P.S. §5860.602(h), is through the use of the USPS Form 3817, certificate of mailing. In this case, the TCB's only proof of mailing was a handwritten notation on its own letterhead.