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WHEATCROFT APPEAL (12/10/70)

decided: December 10, 1970.

WHEATCROFT APPEAL


Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, No. 68-15,521 of 1968, in re case of Upset Sale, Tax Claim Bureau of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, September 9, 1968.

COUNSEL

Alfred O. Breinig, Jr., for appellant.

Richard W. Rogers, for appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Cercone, JJ. Opinion by Montgomery, J. Jacobs, J., dissents.

Author: Montgomery

[ 217 Pa. Super. Page 343]

This is an appeal by R. Wheatcroft, the successful bidder for the real property of Walter A. Wright, which was sold by the Tax Claim Bureau of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, for delinquent taxes, from the refusal of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County to confirm said sale.

The Tax Claim Bureau conducted its yearly upset sale of real property, including the property purchased by appellant, on September 9, 1968, and, pursuant to

[ 217 Pa. Super. Page 344]

    the Real Estate Tax Sale Law of July 7, 1947, P. L. 1368, art. VI, § 607, as amended by the Act of May 10, 1951, P. L. 258, § 1, 72 P.S. § 5860.607, filed its Consolidated Return in the Court of Common Pleas on November 8, 1968. However, in that Return the Bureau recommended that the sale of the Wright property not be confirmed by the court for the reason added at the end of its Schedule "E" on the Wright property Return, i.e., "Reason Sale Void. Improper notice and question of validity of claim." On November 8, 1968, the lower court confirmed nisi most of the sales included in the Consolidated Return but the decree nisi declared the sale to Wheatcroft ". . . to be null and void and of no effect whatever for the reasons set forth therein [Schedule "E"]." Although Wheatcroft filed exceptions to the decree nisi and argued same before a court en banc, no evidence was offered on the matter, and the exceptions were dismissed.

In an opinion filed by Hon. Richard S. Lowe, the court below based its decision of refusal to confirm this sale on the sole reason that § 607 of the aforesaid act, 72 P.S. § 5860.607, provides that objections or exceptions to the decree nisi may be filed by any owner or lien creditor within sixty days and, thus, Wheatcroft, as a "mere preferred proposer", Wilkes-Barre v. Luzerne County Tax Claim Bureau, 4 Pa. D. & C. 2d 399 (1955), had no standing to object to the said decree.

We believe that the lower court erred in holding that Wheatcroft did not have standing to except to the refusal to confirm this sale.

Section 607(a) of the act provides that, after a Return has been made by the Bureau, ". . . if it shall appear to said court that such sale has been regularly conducted under the provisions of this act, the said ...


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