Appeal, No. 247, Jan. T., 1962, from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 6 of Philadelphia County, Dec. T., 1960, No. 37, in case of Anne S. Price, Edward Suckle and Henry M. Suckle, individually and trading as Drexel Apartments, v. Tax Review Board of the City of Philadelphia. Order reversed.
James L. Price, with him Richman, Price & Jamieson, for appellants.
Leonard B. Rosenthal, Assistant City Solicitor, with him James L. Stern, Deputy City Solicitor, and David Berger, City Solicitor, for board, appellee.
Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen and O'brien, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE O'BRIEN
Appellants appeal from the order of the court below dismissing an appeal by them from a decision of
the Tax Review Board of the City of Philadelphia. The board, after a hearing, dismissed appellants' petition to review a Philadelphia mercantile license tax assessment for the years 1953 to 1959, inclusive. The appeal is before this Court on "broad certiorari", and it is therefore our duty to determine whether the findings of fact of the court below are sustained by competent evidence and, if so, whether it arrived at a legally correct conclusion. Philadelphia School District v. Parent Metal Products, Inc., 402 Pa. 361, 167 A.2d 257 (1961); Philadelphia School District v. Rosenberg, 402 Pa. 365, 167 A.2d 259 (1961); Bell Appeal, 396 Pa. 592, 152 A.2d 731 (1959).
The facts sustained by the record are these: Mrs. Price and her brothers, the appellants, are the owners of real estate situate at 6301 Overbrook Avenue in Philadelphia. They own this property as tenants in common, having acquired it by gift and/or devise from their parents. Mrs. Price resides in Montgomery County and her brothers reside in Los Angeles, California and Madison, Wisconsin, respectively, both being engaged in the practice of medicine. The appellants have formed a partnership for the operation of the real estate, known as Drexel Apartments and, for federal income tax purposes, file a partnership return under that name.
6301 Overbrook Avenue is a single building, divided into three sections with a common basement. Each section is four stories high and contains its own self-service elevator. The two outside sections have eight apartments each. The interior section has ten, the extra two arising from a division, made some time ago, of two of the then existing larger apartments into four smaller units. Heat and hot and cold water are supplied to all of the apartments and all are rented unfurnished. A janitor and a helper are employed full-time and their principal functions are to care for the heating
system, cut the grass, clean snow from the sidewalks, clean the halls in the buildings and make minor repairs. Checks for rent are left by the tenants in the janitor's mailbox. He then turns them over to Mrs. Price on the occasion of her weekly visits, at which time she also picks up any bills that may have been sent to the building. These weekly visits are of approximately one hour duration and constitute the total time spent by any of the appellants in the management of the property, the other appellants residing out of the Commonwealth and not having been near the property in at least five years. No electricity or gas is supplied to the apartments, except for the four smaller apartments mentioned heretofore. No maid service is supplied to the tenants and they pick up their own mail from individual mailboxes located on the ground floor of the building. There is no central telephone switchboard serving the building, nor is there a doorman. The basement of the building contains laundry tubs which are available for the use of the tenants without charge, and each of the tenants, at the time of the hearing before the tax review board, had a locker storage ...