Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of the 43rd Judicial District, Monroe County Branch, in the case of Michael R. Sabarese v. Tax Claim Bureau of Monroe County v. Robert E. Plank, Kenneth E. Plank and Howard D. Boyd, Jr., No. 2385 of 1980.
David A. Martino, Zito, Martino and Karasek, for appellant.
David W. Knauer, Robinson, Hoffner & Billick, for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Rogers and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
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This is an appeal by Robert E. Plank, Kenneth E. Plank and Howard D. Boyd, Jr. (Appellants) from a
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decision and order of the Court of Common Pleas of the Forty-Third Judicial District setting aside as invalid a tax sale to Appellants of property owned by Michael R. Sabarese (Appellee). We affirm.
The facts in this case are undisputed.*fn1 The property at issue herein is located in Chestnuthill Township in Monroe County and was purchased by Appellee in 1972. The deed as recorded indicated Appellee's address as being 122 Marcellus Place, Garfield, New Jersey, which is the location of his professional office. At some point the Tax Claim Bureau of Monroe County obtained Appellee's home address which was 280 Kingston Road, Lake Parsippany, New Jersey. Beginning in 1974, it was to this address that Appellee's tax bills were sent. Appellee paid his taxes in full in both 1974 and 1975. In June, 1975, however, Appellee moved from the 280 Kingston Road address to 11 Maple Avenue, Madison, New Jersey. As a result of this move, Appellee, while receiving the bill for his county and township taxes, did not receive his 1976 school tax bill, despite the fact that in paying his county and township taxes he circled in red the 11 Maple Avenue address as printed on his check and included a note to the tax collector indicating the address change.
Appellee's failure to pay his 1976 school taxes led the Tax Claim Bureau to sell the Chestnuthill property to Appellants at a tax sale on September 18, 1978. Prior to that date, two notices of the impending sale were sent to Appellee by the Tax Claim Bureau. Both notices were sent by certified mail to the 280 Kingston Road address. The first, dated July 1, 1977 was returned "moved, address unknown" and the second, dated August 15, 1978 was returned "moved over one year." Neither notice was sent "personal addressee only." Appellee did not learn of the tax sale until 1980 when he contacted the Tax Claim Bureau after
[ 69 Pa. Commw. Page 445]
his accountant brought it to his attention that he had not paid any taxes on the Chestnuthill property since 1976.
On petition by Appellee, the common pleas court invalidated the tax sale on the grounds that the tax sale notices were not marked "personal addressee only" and therefore did not comply with the requirements of Section 602 of the Real Estate Tax Sale Law (Law), Act of July 7, 1947, P.L. 1368, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5860.602 and that Appellee's indication to the tax collector of his change of address sufficed to constitute notice to ...