Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County in case of In Re: Sale of Unredeemed Property by Butler County Tax Claim Bureau, No. Ms. D. 2, June Term, 1971.
Donald D. Doerr, for appellant.
Richard L. McCandless, with him Coulter, Gilchrist, Dillon & McCandless, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Kramer.
We have before us an Appeal from an Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County, dismissing Exceptions filed by Fred E. Chamberlin (appellant). Involved in the instant appeal is a parcel of property containing six undeveloped lots, the record owner of which is the Fernway Development, Inc. Municipal, county and local school taxes on the above property have gone unpaid for the years 1963-1970, inclusive. On September 13, 1965, the Butler County [Delinquent] Tax Claim Bureau exposed the property to public sale; however, the upset price of $384.57 (delinquent taxes for the years 1963, 1964 and 1965) was not bid. The property remained on the delinquent tax rolls through 1970. On October 8, 1970, appellant tendered to the Butler County Commissioners an offer to purchase the property at a price of $500.00. In order to effectuate such sale the Director of the Butler County Tax Claim Bureau, March 9, 1971, filed with the Court of Common Pleas a Petition to Sell Unredeemed Real Estate. The court directed the issuance of a Rule to Show Cause why the Butler County Tax Claim Bureau should not be granted the right to make the sale, free and clear*fn1 to the appellant. The Rule was returnable
and to be heard on April 1, 1971. At the April 1, 1971 proceedings, facts were developed indicating that neither the taxing authorities nor one of the named parties in interest had been notified of the hearing. The court then set June 1, 1971, as the new hearing date and the date on which the Rule to Show Cause would be returnable. In addition the Order required the Rule to note that "there are more than one party interest[ed] in bidding . . . and that the sale be made to the highest bidder." The June 1 hearing was held, at which time Ruth Dorsch (appellee) entered a bid in the amount of $600.00. Appellant was given the opportunity to counter the appellee's bid; he, however, chose to stand on his $500.00 offer of purchase made in October of 1970. The court accepted the bid of the appellee and ordered the closing held on June 19, 1971. Exceptions to the Order were filed and were dismissed by Order and Memorandum of the court. It is from the dismissal of the Exceptions that Chamberlin appeals.
It is the contention of the appellant that the Petition to Sell Unredeemed Property as presented by the Tax Claim Bureau of Butler County to the Court of Common Pleas on March 9, 1971, constituted formal acceptance on the part of the County of appellant's offer to purchase the property at a price of $500.00. The thrust of appellant's argument is grounded in the law of contracts, with slight consideration given to the procedures as found in the Real Estate Tax Sale Law (Act), Act of July 7, 1947, P.L. 1368, No. 542, as amended, 72 P.S. 5860.101 et seq. We are of the opinion that the Act, 72 P.S. 5860.101 is dispositive of the instant appeal.
To best facilitate our analysis we shall review the pertinent portions of the Act, 72 P.S. 5860.101, and thereafter we will speak as to applicability.
Section 605 of the Act, 72 P.S. 5860.605, in pertinent part provides: ". . . No sale of property shall be made by the bureau unless a bid equal to the upset price is made. . . ." In 1965, the property was exposed to sale, however, the upset price of $384.57 was not bid.
Section 605, then continues: "[A]nd where sufficient is not bid, the sale shall be continued from month to month without further advertisement for not more than three (3) months in order to give the bureau a chance to sell the property at private sale, or to petition court for an ...