Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in case of In Re: Upset Sale, Tax Claim Bureau of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Held: September 13, 1971 and September 8, 1980, No. 71-13531 and No. 80-15416.
Alfred O. Breinig, Jr., for appellant.
Frank M. Walsh, Marvin Wilenzik, P.C., for appellees, Tracy Moody, Jr. and Esther Moody.
Michael J. Sheridan, for appellee, Tax Claim Bureau of Montgomery County.
Judges Rogers, Barry and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.
[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 282]
William Dodge (Appellant) appeals from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County (trial court) which affirmed a final return of the Montgomery County Tax Claim Bureau (Bureau) for the 1971 tax sale. The trial court dismissed Appellant's objections and exceptions to the Bureau's voiding of sale number 13-12, based on a redemption by Tracy and Esther Moody (taxpayers), three days after the sale. For the reasons set forth below, we reluctantly reverse and reinstate the tax sale with Appellant as the purchaser of the subject property.
The property in question is located at 622 Cherry Street, Norristown Borough, Montgomery County. On September 13, 1971, Appellant purchased the property at the tax sale. The same day, following the close of the bidding, the taxpayers appeared at the Bureau and offered to make an installment payment of $100.00 on their taxes. The taxpayers offered to make this payment out of a third party check in excess of $900.00, which the Bureau could not accept. The Bureau informed the taxpayers that the sale of the property would be voided provided that they promptly paid twenty-five percent (25%) of the delinquent taxes and entered into an agreement to pay the balance. The taxpayers did so on September 16, 1971, three days after the tax sale.
Appellant was advised by the Bureau that the sale had been voided because of the redemption, and filed exceptions to the Bureau's consolidated return for
[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 283]
the 1971 tax sale. Argument on the exceptions was not held until March 29, 1983; the matter having not been praeciped for argument until April of 1981.
The trial court held that because the notice for the tax sale provided for redemption until the close of the business day on the day of the tax sale, the taxpayers were able to redeem their property following the bidding on that day. As the taxpayers exhibited a willingness and ability to pay on September 13, 1971, the trial court affirmed the Bureau's voiding of the sale of their property. This appeal followed.
Appellant has presented two issues for our disposition: 1) Whether a tax claim bureau may extend the redemption period to the end of the business day on the day of sale provided that notice was given to all interested parties; and 2) whether a tax claim bureau may void a tax sale based on the willingness and ability of the taxpayer to pay, ...