Submitted: August 23, 2019
BEFORE: HONORABLE PATRICIA A. McCULLOUGH, Judge, HONORABLE
ANNE E. COVEY, Judge, HONORABLE ELLEN CEISLER, Judge.
E. COVEY, JUDGE.
Jones (Jones) appeals, pro se,  from the Philadelphia County
Common Pleas Court's (trial court) June 14, 2018 order
denying his Petition to Open, Strike, Stay or Set Aside
Sheriff's Sale and Deed Arising From Tax Sale (Petition).
Jones essentially presents two issues for this Court's
review: (1) whether the trial court erred by concluding that
the City of Philadelphia (City) properly served him with
notice before selling his property located at 1225 West
Hazzard Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19133 (Property)
at sheriff's sale; and (2) whether the trial court erred
by concluding that the notice requirements in Section 39.2 of
what is commonly referred to as the Municipal Claims and Tax
Liens Act (MCTLA)satisfied his due process
rights. The City presents two additional issues:
(3) whether the trial court had jurisdiction to consider
Jones's claims; and (4) whether Jones had standing to
challenge notice. After review, we affirm.
facts of this case are undisputed. Jones has owned the
Property since 2012. On December 27, 2016, the City filed a
Petition for Rule to Show Cause Why the Property Should Not
Be Sold Free and Clear of All Liens and Encumbrances (Tax
Claim) in the trial court against Jones for the
Property's $2, 633.65 in unpaid real estate taxes,
penalties, interest, fees and costs. See Original
Record (O.R.) Item 2. Attached to the Tax Claim was a tax
information certificate (TIC) listing Jones as the
Property's owner, and reflecting that Jones's deed
address was P.O. Box 14132, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19101
(Record Address). See Amended Reproduced Record
(R.R.) at C-12 - C-13. Attached to the TIC and
incorporated therein by reference was the City's "MC
Open Judgment Index" (Index) listing numerous claims
against 10 City properties owned by a "Rasheen
Jones." R.R. at C-14 - C-21. On the same date, the trial
court entered a rule returnable (Rule) for a February 27,
2017 hearing and ordered the City to serve the Tax Claim upon
Jones in accordance with Section 39.2 of the MCTLA.
See O.R. Item 2 at 11.
February 7, 2017, the City filed an affidavit evidencing that
the Tax Claim and the Rule were served on January 26, 2017 by
regular (first class) and certified mail, return receipt
requested to Jones at: (1) the Record Address; (2) P.O. Box
14132, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19138; and (3) the
Property. See R.R. at A-8. On February 23,
2017, the City filed an affidavit reflecting that the Tax
Claim and the Rule were posted on the Property's front
door on January 24, 2017. See R.R. at A-10. The
mailings were returned to the City as undeliverable. Jones
did not respond to the Tax Claim or appear at the February
27, 2017 hearing.
trial court held the hearing on February 27, 2017, and
entered an Assessment of Damages Order and Decree Ordering
that the Property be Sold at Sheriff's Sale
(Decree). See R.R. at A-12 - A-15. The
sheriff's sale was scheduled for May 16, 2017. On April
13, 2017, the City filed an affidavit reflecting that it sent
the Decree and sheriff's sale notice by regular mail to
Jones at: (1) the Record Address; (2) P.O. Box 14132,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19138; and (3) the
Property. See R.R. at A-17 - A-19.
2, 2017, because there were no bids, the City continued the
May 16, 2017 sheriff's sale until June 20, 2017.
See R.R. at A-21. On June 20, 2017, Credit Medics
purchased the Property at sheriff's sale for $8, 500.00.
See O.R. Item 9 at 13. Credit Medics subsequently
assigned the Property to Ione Drummond Williams (Williams),
who completed the sale, and the sheriff acknowledged the deed
on July 12, 2017. See R.R. at A-1 - A-6.
filed the Petition on January 31, 2018, claiming therein that
he never resided at the Property, that he did not receive
notice at the Property or by mail, that the Record Address
"was terminated at the time of the attempted service[,
]" and that his correct address is 6443 Malvern Avenue,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19151 (Malvern Avenue Address).
R.R. at B-3. Jones asserted that, since his Malvern Avenue
Address was on record with the City relative to his business
license and other properties for which he receives tax
notices, if the City had taken reasonable additional steps to
locate him, it would have discovered that address. The City
responded to the Petition the same day, declaring that it
properly served the Tax Claim on Jones pursuant to the MCTLA,
that Jones failed to update his address with the City's
Office of Property Assessment, and that the Petition was
late-filed. On February 23, 2018, the trial court issued a
rule returnable for an April 4, 2018 hearing. See
O.R. Items 10, 14. At Jones's request, the hearing was
rescheduled for April 19, 2018. See O.R. Items
April 19, 2018 hearing, the City argued that the MCTLA
requires only that it send notice to the address on the TIC,
which the City did in this case. The City also stated that
the trial court lacked jurisdiction because Jones filed the
Petition more than three months late. Jones's counsel
countered that, since the TIC upon which the City relied
referenced "JUDGMENTS: (8 pages) See Attached[, ]"
the City was obligated to send Jones notice at all of the
addresses listed on the Index, which included the Malvern
Avenue Address. R.R. at C-12. On April 19, 2018, the trial
court continued the hearing to June 14, 2018. See
O.R. Item 15.
14, 2018, the parties reiterated their arguments, and the
City added that since Jones failed to ensure that his Malvern
Avenue Address was accurately registered pursuant to Section
39.1 of the MCTLA,  he lacked standing under the MCTLA to
object. Jones presented a copy of the Index, his Commercial
Activity License reflecting the Malvern Avenue Address,
see R.R. at C-23, and the valuation history for the
Malvern Avenue Address. See R.R. at C-25. That same
day, the trial court denied the Petition. See
R.R. at F-1. On July 13, 2018, Jones timely appealed from the
trial court's order to this Court. The trial
court filed its opinion on September 24, 2018, stating
therein that it denied the Petition because it was untimely
filed, Jones lacked standing to challenge notice, the City
properly served Jones, and the MCTLA does not violate
Jones's constitutional rights. See R.R. at F-2 -
39.3 of the MCTLA directs:
All parties wishing to contest the validity of any
sale conducted pursuant to [S]ection 31.2 of [the
MCTLA (relating to City tax claims), including the
sufficiency of any notice, and any party claiming to
have an interest in the premises which was not discharged by
the sale must file a petition seeking to overturn the
sale or to establish the interest within
three months of the acknowledgment of the deed to the
premises by the sheriff.
53 P.S. § 7193.3 (emphasis added).
instant matter, the sheriff acknowledged the deed on July 12,
2017. Pursuant to Section 39.3 of the MCTLA, Jones had until
October 12, 2017 to timely file the Petition. Jones filed his
Petition on January 31, 2018, more than six months after the
sheriff's acknowledgement. Because the Petition was not
timely filed, the trial court lacked jurisdiction to act.
Initially, standing is expressly defined and limited by
[S]ection 39.2(a) and (b) of the MCTLA, see Petty v.
Ass[']n of N[e.]
P[a.], . . . 23 A.3d 1004, 1008 ([Pa.] 2011)
('[S]tanding . . . is governed by the statute
itself'), which set[s] forth the only notice requirements
'before a court may enter a decree ordering a tax
sale.' 53 P.S. § 7193.2(b).
U.S. Nat'l Bank Ass'n v. United Hands Cmty. Land
Tr., 129 A.3d 627, 637 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2015). Section
39.2(b) of the MCTLA provides:
No party whose interest did not appear on a
title search, title insurance policy or
[TIC] or who failed to accurately
register his interest and address .
. . shall have standing to complain of improper
notice if the [C]ity shall
have complied with subsection (a) of this section.
This provision shall not apply if the mortgage or interest
was otherwise properly recorded in the Office of the Recorder
of Deeds and the document contains a current address
sufficient to satisfy the notice requirements of this
section. Notwithstanding any other requirement set forth in
this [MCTLA] or any other law to the contrary, the
notice required by subsection (a) of this section
shall constitute the only notice required before a court may
enter a decree ordering a tax sale.
53 P.S. § 7193.2(b) (emphasis added). Therefore, in
order to assess whether Jones had standing, this Court must
first determine that the City strictly complied with Section
39.2(a) of the MCTLA.
39.2(a) of the MCTLA states, in pertinent part:
In cities of the first class, 
notice of a rule to show cause why a
property should not be sold free and clear of all
encumbrances . . . shall be served by the
claimant upon owners, mortgagees, holders of ground rents,
liens and charges or estates of whatsoever kind as
(1) By posting a true and correct copy of
the petition and rule on the most public part of the
(2) By mailing by first class mail to the address
registered by any interested party pursuant to
[S]ection 39.1 of [the MCTLA] a true and correct copy of the
petition and rule; and
(3) By reviewing a title search, title
insurance policy or [TIC] that
identifies interested parties of record who have not
registered their addresses . . ., the [C]ity shall
mail by first class mail and either by certified mail, return
receipt requested, or by registered mail to such
addresses as appear on the respective ...