Thursday, December 08, 2016

tax sale - judicial sale - notice

In re Amended Petition of TCB of Washington County v. Miller – Cmwlth. Court – November 16, 2016


Undisputed facts show that former owner of property sold by repository sale, after judicial sale failed for lack of a bid, did not received notice required by 72 P.S.  5860.610.

The former owner is a party of interest that must be served. See Rivera v. Carbon County Tax Claim Bureau, 857 A.2d 208, 213-16 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2004); also Montgomery County Tax Claim Bureau v. Mermelstein Family Trust, 836 A.2d 1010 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2003); Bell v. Berks County Tax Claim Bureau, 832 A.2d 587 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2003).   This is because “owner” is defined by the Law as “the person in whose name the property is last registered, if registered according to law, or, if not registered according to law, the person whose name last appears as an owner of record on any deed or instrument of conveyance recorded in the county office designated for recording. . . .” Section 102 of the Law, 72 P.S. § 5860.102.

Although the owners were provided with proper notice prior to the initial upset sale, which did not go through, 72 P.S. § 5860.607(g), requires,  that they be served with notice regarding the judicial sale of the Property. The record clearly demonstrates they were not. Consequently, because strict compliance with the notice provisions of the Law is required, which the Bureau did not adhere to when selling the Property, the repository sale of the Property must be deemed void ab initio.
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tax sale - MCTLA - redemption - mixed-use property

City of Philadelphia v. Phan – Commonwealth Court – October 24, 2016


Owner of property which was mixed-use (barber shop ground floor; residential apartment on second) was entitled to redeem it from tax sale under 53 P.S. 7293, the Municipal Claims and Tax Liens Act.

The purpose of sheriffs’ sales under the Act is not to strip owners of their property, but to collect delinquent taxes. City of Philadelphia v. F.A. Realty Investors Corporation, 95 A.3d 377, 384 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2014). Thus, the Act provides property owners with the ability to recover tax-delinquent properties both prior to and after sheriffs’ sales thereof. See Sections 31 and 32 of the Act, 53 P.S. §§7292-7293, which allows redemption of a property which has been “occupied as a residence. . . for at least ninety days prior to the date of the sale and continues to be so occupied on the date of the acknowledgment of the sheriff's deed therefor.”  53 P.S. §7293(a), (c)

There is no requirement in the statute that the entire property have been occupied as a residence, and the Cout refused to imply one.  Nor is there a requirement that the residence be owner-occupied.  Here, the residential part of the unit was a rental property.
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