Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County in the case of Ronald B. Griffith v. Chester County Tax Claim Bureau and Main Line Investors Realty Corp., No. 86-08801.
Thomas A. Dreyer, for appellants.
Alan J. Jarvis, with him, Susan P. Windle, for appellee.
Judges Craig and Barry, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Narick.
[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 106]
The Chester County Tax Claim Bureau and Main Line Investors Realty Corp. (hereinafter collectively referred to as Appellants) appeal from a decision and order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County which invalidated a tax sale and directed the Chester County Tax Claim Bureau to conduct another sale. We affirm.
The facts may be summarized as follows. Ronald B. Griffith (Griffith) owned real property located at R. D. No. 2, Telegraph Road, Honey Brook, West Caln Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania consisting of 1.9 acres with improvements. This parcel of property is known as Lot No. 49 according to the Chester County Tax Claim Bureau records. In 1984, Griffith failed to pay the county, township and school district taxes on his property. On October 6, 1986, the property was subjected to a tax sale in order to collect the delinquent taxes. Appellant Main Line Investors Realty Corporation purchased the property at the sale. On December 10, 1986, Griffith filed a petition to set aside the tax sale
[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 107]
complaining that the property had not been properly posted as required by law. The trial court found as fact that the posted notice with respect to Lot 49 was defective in that the notice was not placed on the premises as required by Section 602(e)(3) of the Real Estate Tax Sale Law (Law), Act of July 7, 1947, P.L. 1368, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5860.602(e)(3). Accordingly, the trial court invalidated the October 6, 1986 tax sale and directed that another sale be conducted as required by law. Appellants appealed the trial court's order to this Court.
We must determine whether the trial court properly invalidated the tax sale when although the property owner received notice of the tax sale, there is evidence that the property was not posted properly as required by law, and this is asserted as a defense by the property owner.*fn1 In tax sale cases, our scope of review is limited to determining whether the trial court abused its discretion, rendered a decision with lack of supporting evidence or clearly erred as a matter of law. Molchan Appeal, 94 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 423, 503 A.2d 1051 (1986).
Section 602 of the Law sets forth three types of notice which are required for a valid tax sale: publication, certified mail and posting. Griffith contended in the trial court that his property was not posted in accordance with Section 602(e)(3) of the Law which provides: "Each property scheduled for sale shall be posted at least ten (10) days prior to the sale".
It is long settled that a valid tax sale requires strict compliance with the notice provisions of Section 602 of the Act; and all three types of notice are required for a tax sale to be valid. If any is defective the sale ...