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DELAWARE COUNTY MORTGAGE & FINANCE CO. v. DELAWARE COUNTY BOARD COMMISSIONERS (01/12/51)

January 12, 1951

DELAWARE COUNTY MORTGAGE & FINANCE CO., INC.,
v.
DELAWARE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS



COUNSEL

Lindenmuth & Class, George H. Class, George E. Kearns, Jr., all of Media, for appellant.

Edward H. P. Fronefield, County Solicitor, Media, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold, and Gunther, JJ.

Author: Rhodes

[ 168 Pa. Super. Page 144]

RHODES, President Judge.

These two appeals involve the right of an owner to redeem land acquired by a county for unpaid taxes where the county commissioners sold such property at public sale, without an order of court, under section 17 of the Act of May 29, 1931, P.L. 280, as last amended by the Act of May 24, 1945, P.L. 945, § 2, 72 P.S. § 5971q.

The appeals concern two properties: the one at 204 Jeffrey Street, Chester, Delaware County, assessed to Homer and Henrietta Holland, and the other at 1227 Central Avenue, Chester, Delaware County, assessed to John and Mary Breakley. The facts material to each

[ 168 Pa. Super. Page 145]

    appeal are identical, and we shall dispose of both appeals in this opinion.

The Holland property was exposed to sale by the County Treasurer of Delaware County on May 8, 1947, for delinquent taxes for 1943, and purchased by the County Commissioners of Delaware County in their official capacity, in the absence of bidders, on the same day. In like manner the Breakley property was purchased by the Commissioners on April 29, 1943, at county treasurer's sale for delinquent county taxes for the year 1937. The owners did not redeem within the two year period, and after due advertisement, the Commissioners, on April 19, 1950, exposed each property to public sale under the provisions of section 17 of the Act of May 29, 1931, P.L. 280, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5971q.*fn1 They did not fix an upset price for the respective properties to be exposed to public sale. The tax sale clerk sent notice by registered mail to the owners of each property advising them of the scheduled public sale, although there is no provision in the Act requiring such notice of a sale by the County Commissioners. Cf. Hess v. Westerwick, 366 Pa. 90, 76 A.2d 745. At such sale, held on April 19, 1950, the Delaware County Mortgage and Finance Company, Inc., appellant, bid $715.44 for the Holland property, and $539.22 for the Breakley property. These bids were the highest made at the sale for each property. The amounts were accepted by the Commissioners and paid to them by appellant. On April 26, 1950, appellant tendered deeds to the Commissioners for the two properties, but the Commissioners refused to execute such deeds. On the following day, April 27, 1950, appellant filed separate mandamus actions to compel the Commissioners

[ 168 Pa. Super. Page 146]

    to execute to it deeds for the respective properties. On April 28, 1950, or within ten days after the sale, the attorney for the Hollands paid $780.94 to the Commissioners, being the amount necessary to redeem if such right existed. On April 29, 1950, or the tenth day after the sale, the attorney for the Breakleys paid $587.22 for the purpose of redemption. The court below proceeded with the mandamus actions. Preliminary objections had been filed by the Commissioners to which the present appellant filed its answers. Subsequently the pleadings were amended by permission of the court and the facts were stipulated.

After argument before the court in banc the court below held that, under section 17 of the Act of 1931, P.L. 280, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5971q, the owners had ten days after the date of sale to redeem; and it entered judgment in favor of the County of Delaware but ordered the Commissioners to issue certificates of ...


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