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LAWRENCE B. HALPERN AND CORRINE DORSI v. MONROE COUNTY TAX CLAIM BUREAU AND FRED MOSES AND BETH MOSES (05/17/89)

decided: May 17, 1989.

LAWRENCE B. HALPERN AND CORRINE DORSI, APPELLANTS,
v.
MONROE COUNTY TAX CLAIM BUREAU AND FRED MOSES AND BETH MOSES, HIS WIFE, APPELLEES



COUNSEL

Peter J. Quigley, Stroudsburg, for appellants.

Charles P. Eyer, Stroudsburg, for Fred Moses, et al.

James P. Gregor, Stroudsburg, for Monroe County Tax Claim Bureau.

Colins and Smith, JJ., and Kalish, Senior Judge. MacPhail, J., did not participate in the decision in this case. Colins, Judge, dissenting.

Author: Smith

[ 126 Pa. Commw. Page 36]

Lawrence B. Halpern (Halpern) and Corrine Dorsi (Dorsi) appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County dismissing Appellants' exceptions to the 1986 tax sale of a parcel of unimproved property in Monroe County which was sold by the Monroe County Tax Claim Bureau (Bureau) pursuant to the Real Estate Tax Sale Law (Tax Law)*fn1 for failure to pay taxes and confirming legal title in Fred and Beth Moses. The issue before this Court is whether the Bureau made a reasonable effort to give actual

[ 126 Pa. Commw. Page 37]

    notice to Dorsi of the pending tax sale of her property pursuant to Section 5860.607a of the Tax Law.*fn2 The trial court is reversed.

The property in question is located in Price Township, Monroe County, Pennsylvania and was originally acquired by Halpern and Frank Dorsi (Dorsi's son) in 1975. In 1983, Dorsi acquired her son's interest in the property and a deed was executed in the names of Halpern and Dorsi as joint tenants. By agreement of Appellants, Halpern handled payment of taxes for the property, and his New York address was listed on the deed. At all times relevant, Halpern resided at his New York address. Dorsi resided in Hazlet, New Jersey at the time she acquired the property, moved to Middleton, New Jersey in March of 1984 and was still living in Middleton at the time this appeal was filed. Dorsi never advised the Bureau of her change of address.

All real estate taxes on the property were paid until 1984 when a tax bill of approximately $153 was not satisfied. Pursuant to the Tax Law then in effect, the Bureau sent notice of the pending tax sale for delinquent taxes to Halpern by certified mail, return receipt requested on July 15, 1986 and July 17, 1986.*fn3 Neither of the receipts was returned by Halpern. The Bureau sent Halpern notice by ordinary mail on August 14, 1986. Halpern claims never to have received this third notice although it was not returned to the Bureau.

A certified mail notice of the sale was sent to Dorsi by the Bureau on August 6, 1986 at the Hazlet, New Jersey address but was returned to the Bureau marked "not deliverable as addressed, unable to forward." The ordinary mail notice sent to Dorsi on August 14, 1986 was similarly

[ 126 Pa. Commw. Page 38]

    returned. Within 30 days after the tax sale, the Bureau sent notices by certified mail to both Halpern and Dorsi advising them of the sale and of their right to file exceptions. Both Appellants claim they never received these notices, and there is nothing in the ...


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