Local delinquent tax return law




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LOCAL DELINQUENT TAX RETURN LAW

Act of May. 29, 1931, P.L. 280, No. 132

Cl. 53

AN ACT

 

Relating to delinquent taxes on seated lands, and prescribing interest charges on nonpayment thereof; requiring the receivers and collectors of county, city, borough, town, township, school district and poor district taxes to make a return to the county commissioners of such unpaid taxes, and providing for the lien thereof; authorizing the county treasurers to collect such taxes, and to sell seated lands at public sale for taxes heretofore or hereafter returned as unpaid; and authorizing the county commissioners to purchase such lands and resell the same under certain circumstances.



Section 1.   Be it enacted, &c., That from and after the passage of this act, it shall be the duty of each receiver or collector of any county, city, borough, town, township, school district, poor district or institution district taxes, to make a return to the county commissioners of such taxes which are assessed and levied on seated lands, and which are unpaid, and for which no liens have been filed, not later than the first Monday of May, in the year succeeding the year in which the respective taxes were assessed and levied, filing therewith a description of said real estate by adjoiners or otherwise, sufficient to identify said land with name of the owner or reputed owner against whom such taxes were assessed and levied, and the amounts of taxes unpaid, and the year during which the said taxes were assessed or levied. In addition to penalties under existing laws, interest at the rate of six per-centum per annum shall be added, beginning on the first day of May, of the year following the levy and assessment of such tax, until such taxes are paid or the seated lands responsible therefor are sold as hereinafter provided.

Whenever in this act the words land, seated lands, real estate or property are used, such words shall be construed to include a mobilehome or house trailer subject to a real property tax.

(Amended Sept. 23, 1961, P.L.1612, No.682)

Where the receiver or collector of any such taxes shall have failed to make the return thereof as provided by this section, and the time fixed for making such return has expired, such receiver or collector of said taxes, or any delinquent tax collector, or taxing authority in whose hands such taxes now repose for collection is hereby authorized to make return of any of said taxes which are unpaid and for which no lien has been filed within six months from the effective date of this amending act; and the liens of any taxes so returned shall be valid and are hereby ratified and confirmed, and a county treasurer's sale may be had for such taxes at the time when a county treasurer's sale is held under the provisions of this act, in the same manner as if such returns had been made at the time heretofore required by this section: Provided, however, That the return of any tax under this amendment shall not establish, revive or re-establish any tax lien against real estate which was transferred to any bona fide purchaser during the time before such return was made or when any such lien was lost. (Par. amended Aug. 31, 1963, P.L.1352, No.532)

Section 2.    Upon receipt of such returns, the county commissioners shall enter upon a docket, to be styled Tax Return Docket, the returns so made, with a description of the said lands, which return and entry shall constitute a lien on such lands. Such returns for each ward in each city and borough, and for each township and incorporated town, shall be alphabetically indexed, with name of owner and locality and year during which the return was filed and page of the docket wherein the lien is recorded, in a book or books to be provided by the county commissioners, to be known as the tax lien index.

Section 3.   After the receipt of such returns and recording thereof upon the said docket, the county commissioners shall certify said returns, together with all previous returns for delinquent taxes filed in the office of the said commissioners which may have been filed under law heretofore authorizing the same, to the county treasurer, who is authorized and empowered to receive and collect the same, and who shall sell the seated lands upon which such taxes were assessed and levied to secure the payments of such taxes as are unpaid and the accruing costs and interest as hereinafter provided.

The county treasurer shall not be required to advertise and expose for sale a mobilehome or house trailer assessed as subject to a real property tax on which taxes are unpaid when the chief assessor or the chairman of the Board of Assessment and Revision of Taxes certifies under oath on personal knowledge or on information supplied by local assessors or subordinate assessors that the mobilehome or house trailer is no longer in the county.

The treasurer shall keep a record of all taxes received or collected by him, and at least quarterly shall pay over and distribute the same, less the cost and charges to which he may be entitled, to the proper parties entitled to receive the same, for the uses and purposes for which such taxes were assessed or levied, and shall certify to the county commissioners, within fifteen days following each payment thereof, a list of the taxes thus by him collected for entry and satisfaction upon the said Tax Return Docket of Seated Lands, to be kept by the county commissioners.

(3 amended May 15, 1969, P.L.45, No.15)

Section 4.    All taxes unpaid and so returned and docketed, as aforesaid, shall be a first lien, subject as hereinafter stated, on said real estate liable for the payment thereof, together with all charges, interest, expenses and fees added thereto for failure to pay promptly; and such liens shall have priority to and be fully paid and satisfied out of the proceeds of any judicial sale of said property before any mortgage, obligation, claim, lien or estate with which said property may have or shall become charged or for which it may become liable, save and except only the costs of the sale and of the writ upon which it is made, and liens in favor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which shall have priority to such tax liens. All taxes returned under this or any previous statute supplied hereby shall be first liens until sold, as hereinafter provided, or unless sooner discharged.

(4 amended June 20, 1939, P.L.498, No.276)

Section 5.    Such tax so returned and filed and entered upon said docket shall remain a lien upon said property until fully paid and satisfied, or until the property shall be sold in accordance with provisions hereof, except as hereinafter provided.

(5 amended June 20, 1939, P.L.498, No.276)

Section 6.    After such return of taxes shall have been made in accordance with the provisions hereof, responsibility of the tax collector or receiver of taxes for the collection of the taxes so returned shall cease. On making such return, the tax collector or receiver of taxes shall be entitled to exoneration from the taxes so returned on the settlement of his accounts. On any unpaid taxes returned to the county commissioners, the tax collector or receiver of taxes shall be entitled to receive a commission of two per centum (2%) from the taxing district for which such tax is returned when the tax is paid by the county treasurer to the proper taxing district; provided, that, where the tax collector is paid on a salary basis, he shall not be entitled to receive this commission of two per centum (2%).

Section 7.   The county treasurer shall advertise the fact of holding such sale, once a week for three successive weeks prior to the holding of such sale, in at least two newspapers of general circulation in the county in which such seated land is located, if there be two newspapers so published; if there be only one, then in such newspaper so published in the county.

Such advertisement shall set forth:

(a)   The purpose of such sale.

(b)   The time of such sale.

(c)   The place of such sale.

(d)   The terms of such sale.

(e)   A list of the seated lands affected and their location, and the owner or reputed owner of each.

(f)   Amount of taxes and interest.

In addition to such advertisement, at least ten days before any such sale, written notice thereof shall be served by the county treasurer, by registered mail or certified mail, upon the owner of such land, and if the whereabouts of the owner is unknown, such notice shall be served by registered mail or certified mail upon the terre tenant, if any. In the case of a mobilehome or house trailer subject to real property tax, a copy of such notice shall at the same time and in like manner be sent to the encumbrance holders of record. If such notice cannot be served in said manner on the owner or terre tenant, then such notice shall be served by the county treasurer by posting the same in the courthouse and at a conspicuous place on the premises. If notice was mailed as herein required, no such sale shall be prejudiced or defeated, and no title to property sold at such sale shall be invalidated by proof that such written notice was not received by the owner or terre tenant as herein provided.

The cost of such advertisements, notices and the service thereof shall be taxed as part of the cost of such proceedings and shall be paid the same as the other costs.

(7 amended Sept. 23, 1961, P.L.1612, No.682)

Section 8.   (a)   No such sale shall be made before the first Monday of August in the second year succeeding the year in which the respective taxes are assessed and levied; but in every case, except as herein otherwise provided, sale shall be made within a period of five years from the date such taxes have heretofore been entered on the tax return docket, or from the date the lien thereof has last been extended or continued by filing the same in the office of the prothonotary, or from the date such taxes shall hereafter be entered on said docket, except in cases where such sale has been or shall hereafter be adjourned or readjourned beyond such period of time or prohibited during such period of time under the authority of this or any other act of Assembly. In all cases of adjournment or readjournment of any such sale and in all cases where the lien of any tax would under the provisions of this act expire or be lost prior to the sale of such property under the provisions of this act, such liens are hereby revived, preserved and extended and shall remain in full force and effect until the property against which such taxes are a lien is sold under the provisions of this act or the lien otherwise discharged.

(b)   For all taxes assessed and levied for the year one thousand nine hundred and thirty or any year prior thereto, and returned under the provisions of this or any other law, the sale shall be held on or before February first, one thousand nine hundred and forty; and for the taxes assessed and levied for the years one thousand nine hundred and thirty-one and one thousand nine hundred and thirty-two, the sale shall be held on or before May first, one thousand nine hundred and forty; and for taxes assessed and levied for the years one thousand nine hundred and thirty-three and one thousand nine hundred and thirty-four, the sale shall be held on or before the first Monday of August, one thousand nine hundred and forty.

(c)   No property shall be sold under the provisions of this act, at the times herein prescribed, when the delinquent taxes assessed and levied against such property are being paid upon the installment plan authorized and provided by any law abating penalties, interest and costs, or any of them, imposed upon unpaid delinquent taxes, or, when any payment shall have been made under such plan and even though a default shall have been made in the required payments, if the taxpayer has an opportunity under the said act to continue the installment payments at the subsequent installment period and secure the remaining benefits of said act. In all such cases the liens of such taxes are hereby fully preserved and extended for the entire installment period if there is no complete default under the terms of the said act, and if there shall be such a default, the said liens are hereby continued, preserved and extended until sold under the provisions of this act: Provided, however, That if the time for selling such property or properties under the other provisions of this act shall have expired at the time of such default, said property or properties shall be sold within six months after the date of such default.

(d)   The county treasurer when requested by any taxing authority who deems it to their advantage, shall hold a sale of the property or properties of one or more taxables for the unpaid taxes assessed and levied against such property, separate and independent of any general tax sale of properties as provided by this act. The purpose of this clause is to provide a method whereby the property or properties of one or more delinquent taxables may be sold by the treasurer, within the time limits prescribed by this act, without the necessity of selling other properties against which taxes for the same year have been assessed and levied and returned, as herein provided, and which are unpaid.

(e)   After the date has been fixed for any such sale, it may be adjourned or readjourned from time to time, and in such case the advertisement and notice of a sale, as required by this act, may be given preceding the date of any adjourned or readjourned sale, in which case no prior advertisement or notice shall be required, and, in case the sales for different years' taxes be held on the same date, the advertisements and notices may be consolidated: Provided further, That if any such sale be adjourned or readjourned, after advertisement and notice, by public announcement at such sale, adjournment or readjournment, no additional advertisement or notice shall be necessary for such adjourned or readjourned sale: Provided further, That no such adjournment or readjournment shall be for a longer period than thirty days unless the county treasurer, with the consent in writing of the county commissioners and the approval of the judge of the court of the county in which the sale is pending shall declare, at the time fixed for a sale of any adjournment or readjournments thereof, that, because of widespread economic and business depression and usual unemployment incident thereto, a sale would be inadvisable, in which case any such sale may be adjourned or readjourned at any one time and from time to time for a longer period, but in no case beyond the expiration of the period fixed for such sale by this amendment or beyond the date of the actual holding of the first subsequent sale for any other year's taxes; Provided, That when, after advertisement of a sale, it has been determined as aforesaid to adjourn any sale for taxes, the county treasurer shall publish, at the expense of the county, in at least two newspapers of general circulation in the county, if so many be published in the county, a brief notice or advertisement announcing said adjournment and the actual new date to which such sale for taxes has been adjourned.

(f)   For each tract of land so disposed of, the county treasurer shall be entitled to the following fees, which shall be taxed as part of the costs of such proceedings, and shall be paid the same as other costs:

Advertising each tract, including printer's charge, the actual cost.

Selling each tract, or part thereof, .25

Writing and signing each deed, 1.50

Acknowledging every deed, .50

Writing and filing every bond to acknowledge the

purchase money .25

The county shall, in the first instance, be liable for the cost of advertising treasurers' sales, and the fees collected for such advertising shall be paid into the county treasury for the use of the county.

For receiving and paying over the purchase money or taxes collected by him the county treasurer shall be entitled to a commission of two per centum (2%) thereof; such commission to be deducted from the amount to be paid to the taxing district upon any settlement with the taxing district, and upon presentation to the taxing district of a transcript of the information required to be compiled by the county treasurer by section eleven hereof.

(8 amended June 20, 1939, P.L.498, No.276)

Section 9.   No sale shall be valid where the taxes and interest have been paid prior to said advertisement, or where the taxes, interest, and costs have been paid after advertisement and before sale, or when such taxes are not legally due and collectible. Every such sale shall discharge the lien of every obligation, claim, lien or estate with which said property may have or shall become charged, or for which it may become liable, except no such sale shall discharge the lien of any ground rent, municipal claim or tax remaining unpaid or mortgage which shall have been recorded before such taxes became liens, by return and docketing, as herein provided, and which is or shall be prior to all other liens, except other mortgages, ground rents, municipal claims, and/or other taxes. Any real estate sold under this act may be redeemed by the owner, his heirs or legal representatives, or by any lien creditor, or his heirs, assigns or legal representatives, or by anyone interested in said real estate for the benefit of the owner thereof, at any time within two years after such sale, by the payment to the county treasurers of the full amount which the purchaser paid to said treasurer for taxes, interest, and costs and fifteen per centum of the amount of tax in addition thereto. In case the purchaser has paid any taxes of any kind whatsoever, assessed and levied against said property, the same shall be reimbursed to said purchaser before any redemption shall take effect. No sale of seated lands for taxes, under the provisions of this act, shall be prejudiced or defeated by proof that there was personal property to be found on the premises sufficient to pay the taxes assessed thereon, nor shall such sale be prejudiced by reason of the fact that such lands so assessed as seated lands were at the time unseated.

When any real estate is so sold, no lien whatsoever against such real estate shall be deemed to be discharged during the period for redemption; but if such real estate is not redeemed, then all liens against the same, except such liens as are hereinbefore specifically saved, shall be deemed to be discharged from the date that the right of redemption expired.

When any real estate is so redeemed by a lien creditor, or his heirs, assigns or legal representatives, or by any person interested for the benefit of the owner, the county treasurer shall issue to the person redeeming such real estate a certificate, stating the fact of such redemption, a brief description of the real estate redeemed, and the amount of the redemption money paid, which certificate may be entered in the office of the prothonotary of the county as a judgment against the owner of the real estate for the amount stated therein. The lien of any such judgment shall have priority over all other liens against such real estate except such liens as would not have been discharged had no redemption been made.

(9 amended June 20, 1939, P.L.498, No.276)

Section 10.   It shall be the duty of the purchaser or purchasers at this treasurer's sale, as soon as the property is struck down, to pay (i) the amount of the purchase money, or (ii) such part thereof as may be necessary to pay all taxes, except such taxes as have heretofore been filed as liens in the office of the prothonotary, and all interest, and costs, and also one dollar and fifty cents for the use of the prothonotary for entering the report of the treasurer and acknowledgment of the treasurer's deed, as hereinafter mentioned, plus an additional amount equal to twenty-five per centum of the purchase money. In case said amount is not forthwith paid after the property is struck down, the sale shall be avoided and the property immediately put up again by the said treasurer. In the event the purchaser fails to later make complete settlement at the time and in the manner provided for in this act, any money paid under the provisions of this section shall be forfeited and shall be disposed of the same as purchase money.

Any such property, for which an amount sufficient to pay such taxes, interest, and the costs is not bid, shall be purchased by the county commissioners, in which event the requirements of the preceding paragraph of this section shall not apply.

(10 amended Jan. 31, 1956 (1955), P.L.968, No.298)

Section 11.    The county treasurer shall keep in his office a book in which he shall enter all collections of taxes made by him, and the sales made by him, giving a description of each property sold, the name of the owner thereof as the same appears upon the duplicates or has been returned to him, the time of sale, and the price at which sold, together with the amount of the taxes, interest, and costs.

Section 12.   It shall be the duty of the county treasurer, at the first term of a court of common pleas of the proper county succeeding any such sale, to make a report and return, wherein he shall set forth a brief description of the land or property sold, the name of the person (where known) in which the same is assessed, the amount of tax and the year for which the same is assessed, the time when and the newspapers in which the advertisement for sale was made, with a copy of said advertisement, the time of sale, the name of the purchaser, and the price for which each respective property was sold. Upon the presentation of said report or return, if it shall appear to said court that such sale has been regularly conducted, under the provisions of this act, the said report and the sale so made shall be confirmed nisi.

The county treasurer shall, at the expense of the county, publish a general notice, once in a newspaper of general circulation throughout the county, stating that the report of the county treasurer with respect to any such sale or sales for delinquent taxes has been presented to the court, giving the date thereof, and that exceptions thereto may be filed within sixty days after the date of return, otherwise the report will be confirmed absolutely.

In case no objections or exceptions are filed to any such sale within sixty days after the date of return, a decree of absolute confirmation shall be entered as of course by the prothonotary. Any objections or exceptions to such a sale may raise the legality of the taxes for nonpayment of which the real estate was sold, or the return thereof or the validity of, the sale for the reason that the tax was actually paid, or question the regularity or legality of the proceedings of the treasurer in any respect. In case any objections or exceptions are filed, they shall be disposed of according to the practice of the court. When the same are overruled or set aside, a decree of absolute confirmation shall be entered by the court. If such objections or exceptions are sustained and the court deems the defect not amendable, it shall, by its order or decree, invalidate the sale. If no objections or exceptions are filed as herein provided or where objections or exceptions are finally overruled and the sale confirmed absolutely, the validity of the assessment of the tax and its return for nonpayment, and the validity of the proceedings of the treasurer with respect to such sale shall not thereafter be inquired into judicially, in equity or by civil proceedings, by the person or persons in whose name such property was sold, his or her or their heirs, or his, her or their grantees or assigns, subsequent to the date of the assessment of the taxes for which such sale was made; and such sale, after the period of redemption shall be terminated, shall be deemed to pass a good and valid title to the purchaser, free from any liens or encumbrances whatsoever, except such liens as are hereinbefore specifically saved, and in all respects as good and effective as if acquired by a sheriff's deed, provided, the purchaser has filed the bond for surplus moneys as hereinafter provided.

(12 amended June 20, 1939, P.L.498, No.276; penultimate sentence repealed June 3, 1971, P.L.118, No.6)

Section 13.    After any sale of property or lands for delinquent taxes has been confirmed by the court, as aforesaid, it shall be the duty of the purchaser or purchasers, where the bid exceeds the taxes, interest, and costs, as aforesaid, to make and execute to the said treasurer, for the use of the persons entitled, a bond for the surplus money that may remain after satisfying and paying all the taxes, interest, and costs, as aforesaid, with warrant of attorney to confess judgment annexed thereto, and it shall be the duty of said treasurer to forthwith file said bond in the office of the prothonotary of the proper county, at the number and terms where said report and return is filed; and the surplus bond filed as aforesaid, from the time of the date of the deed for property thus sold, shall bind, as effectually and in like manner as judgments, the land by said treasurer sold into whose hands or possession it may come; and the owners of said lands, at the time of sale, their heirs or assigns, or other legal representatives, may, in not less than two years or more than five years after confirmation of such sale, cause judgment to be entered in said court upon said bond, in the name of said treasurer, for the use of said owners, their heirs, assigns or legal representatives (as the case may be); and in case the moneys mentioned in said bonds, with legal interest thereon, be not paid within thirty days after judgment thereon, execution may issue against the property therein before sold, and said property be sold upon writ of fieri facias, without condemnation or inquisition or the benefit of any exemption laws.

Section 14.    When the purchaser has paid the amount of his bid, or such portion thereof as he is required to pay under this act, and has given the surplus bond as above required, or when such property has been purchased by the county commissioners, it shall be the duty of the county treasurer to make the said purchaser or purchasers, his or their heirs or assigns, a deed in fee simple for the lands sold as aforesaid; each such deed to be duly acknowledged in the court of common pleas, and such acknowledgment shall be duly entered and recorded by the prothonotary of said court in the treasurer's deed book,--and for such service and the entry of the report of said treasurer, said prothonotary shall receive the sum of one dollar and fifty cents, except when the property has been purchased by the county commissioners,--which, after being entered and recorded with the prothonotary, shall be returned to the treasurer.

(14 amended Mar. 24, 1933, P.L.18, No.15)

Section 15.    If any owner, his heirs or legal representatives, or any lien creditor, his heirs, assigns or legal representatives, or other person interested, shall, within two years after the day such sale was made, redeem such real estate for the benefit of the owner, by payment of the taxes and interest for which the lands were sold, and the costs, with an additional sum of fifteen per centum, and any taxes which may have been levied against any such property since the treasurer's sale, and which remain unpaid by the owner or redeemer, to the county treasurer, he shall receive and receipt for the same, and pay said taxes, interest, costs and additional percentage over to the purchaser upon demand, and the accrued taxes to the district entitled thereto; and the county treasurer shall forthwith acknowledge the receipt of the redemption moneys upon the margin of the acknowledgment of the treasurer's deed, as the same is entered and recorded in the prothonotary's office as aforesaid, and, if said deed has been recorded in the office for recording of deeds, cause an entry to be made on the margin of the record of the deed in the office of the recorded of deeds, by marking thereon the word "redeemed," which shall be signed by the county treasurer, and attested by the recorder of deeds, and thereafter said deed shall be void and of no effect. If such deed be not recorded, then such owner or person interested, as aforesaid, shall be entitled to have the treasurer's deed delivered to such owner, creditor, heir, assign, legal representative, or persons interested, for cancellation. The county treasurer shall certify all such redemptions to the boards of county commissioners, who shall enter the same on the Tax Return Docket, and who shall certify such redemptions to the county assessors, so that the property may thereafter be assessed in the name of the owner.

(15 amended May 6, 1955, P.L.44, No.18)

Section 16.    When the county commissioners shall purchase any real property at a county treasurer's sale, they shall provide a book wherein shall be entered; (a) the name of the person as whose land the same was sold; (b) a brief description of the property, together with any lot and block number; (c) the amount of taxes, interest and costs for which it was sold. Such property shall not, so long as it remains the property of the county, be charged in the duplicate. During the redemption period following such sale, if the land remains unredeemed, the commissioners shall, in separate columns in the same book, charge every such tract of land with like county, city, borough, town, township, school and poor taxes, as would have been chargeable against the land had the same not been purchased by the county commissioners. The right of redemption of lands purchased by the county commissioners shall remain in the real owner of such lands, or other persons interested, for two years after such sale, and such redemption may be accomplished by a payment, within such period, to the county treasurer of first, all taxes, interest and costs due thereon at the time of sale, and interest thereon; and also second, the taxes and interest which have been annually levied and charged thereon after the sale, and interest thereon beginning on the first day of January in the year succeeding the year when the respective taxes were levied; and also third, all moneys expended by the county in the demolition and removal of any building or structure on such property, or the repair thereof, in order to make the same safe pursuant to an order by the authorities of the political subdivision in which the property is located, after such building or structure had been condemned as unsafe; and also fourth, all moneys expended by the county on order of the Pennsylvania State Police or an assistant to the Pennsylvania State Police in removing or remedying any condition on such property that is found to be a fire menace or hazard. All redemptions of property purchased by the county commissioners shall be noted upon their records, and the county treasurer shall forthwith cause an entry of redemption to be made on the records in like manner as if such property were purchased by other than county commissioners.

(16 amended May 24, 1945, P.L.945, No.375)

Section 17.   If the owner of any real property, his heirs or legal representatives, or lien creditor, his heirs, assigns or legal representatives, or other person interested in property, so purchased by the county commissioners, shall not redeem the same within such period of redemption the county commissioners may, after the expiration of such period, sell such lands at public sale, as provided by this act, or at private sale, in the manner provided by law for such private sales, for the best price or prices obtainable, but they shall not be obliged to sell same. Any such lands now owned by the county for which the redemption period has expired, including property heretofore exposed to sale by the county commissioners and for which no bids have been received, may be sold as herein provided at any time after the effective date of this act, but shall not be required to be sold. After any such sale or in the case of any redemption, the property shall be charged by the assessor in the name of the last purchaser or redeemer, and such lands shall again be liable for taxes as other lands.

The county commissioners, before making public sale of real property purchased by them at tax sales shall give at least thirty days' notice, once a week for three consecutive weeks, of such sales, particularly designating the tracts that are to be sold. This notice shall be inserted in at least two newspapers published in the county, if so many are published in said county; if there be only one, then in such newspaper published in the county.

Such advertisement shall set forth:

(a)   The purpose of such sale.

(b)   The time of such sale.

(c)   The place of such sale.

(d)   The terms of such sale.

(e)   A list of seated lands affected and their location, and the owner or reputed owner of each.

Where any such public sale has been advertised under the provisions of this section, prior to this amendment, and such sale not having been held, the readvertisement of such sale need not be advertised three consecutive weeks, nor include a list and description of the lands to be sold, but need only be advertised by one insertion in one or two newspapers, as aforesaid, at least thirty days prior to the sale, and include the purpose, the time, the place, and the terms of such sale, with a reference to the prior advertisement.



The county commissioners may fix an upset price to be realized for any property exposed to sale by them, as aforesaid, sufficient to pay, first, all costs; second all moneys expended by the county in the demolition, removal or repair of any building or structure on such property after the same had been condemned as unsafe by the political subdivision in which the same is located; third, all moneys expended by the county on order of the Pennsylvania State Police or an assistant to the Pennsylvania State Police in removing or remedying any condition on such property that is found to be a fire menace or hazard; and fourth, all tax claims against the property, including tax liens of the Commonwealth, tax liens filed in the prothonotary's office of the proper county, taxes returned to the county commissioners and entered upon the Tax Return Docket in their office and indexed in the tax lien index in their office; fifth, all accrued but unfiled taxes assessed and levied against the property; and sixth, the amount of the municipal claims against the property. In case the upset price shall not be bid for the property the county commissioners may postpone the sale and file their petition in the court of common pleas of the proper county setting forth that the property was purchased by them at a county treasurer's sale for unpaid taxes, that more than two years has elapsed since the property was sold to them by the county treasurer, that neither the owner, his heirs or legal representatives or any lien creditor, his heirs, assigns or legal representatives or other person interested has redeemed the property, that they exposed the property to public sale, that before exposing the property to public sale they fixed an upset price as above provided, and that they were unable to obtain a bid sufficient to pay said upset price. Upon the presentation of such petition, accompanied with searches, showing the state of the record and the ownership of the property, and of all municipal claims, mortgages and ground rents against the same which were not divested by the county treasurer's sale, the court shall grant a rule upon all parties thus shown to be interested to appear and show cause why a decree should not be made that said property be sold freed and cleared of their respective mortgages, municipal claims and ground rents. If, upon a hearing thereafter, the court is satisfied that service has been made of said rule upon the parties respondent in the manner provided for the service of writs of scire facias to obtain judgments upon tax and municipal claims, and that the facts stated in the petition are true, it shall order and decree that said property be sold at a subsequent day to be fixed by the court without further advertisement clear of all mortgages, municipal claims and ground rents to the highest bidder at such sale, and the proceeds realized therefrom shall be distributed, to payment, first, of the costs of sale; second, the tax liens of the Commonwealth, if any; third, all moneys expended by the county in the demolition, removal or repair of any building or structure on such property after the same had been condemned as unsafe by the political subdivision in which the same is located; fourth, all moneys expended by the county on order of the Pennsylvania State Police or an assistant to the Pennsylvania State Police in removing or remedying any condition on such property that is found to be a fire menace or hazard; fifth, taxes due the various taxing districts, in proportion to their respective interests; sixth, municipal claims due on such property; and seventh, mortgage and other liens, in order of their priority. The purchaser at such sale, shall take and forever thereafter have, an absolute title to the property sold, free and discharged of all tax and municipal claims, liens, mortgages, charges and estates of whatsoever kind: Provided, however, That any owner of the property so sold may, within ten days after the date of the said sale, redeem the property so sold upon payment of the bid price and the costs of sale, and a penalty of ten per centum (10%) of the bid price, which penalty shall be distributed as a part of the proceeds of the sale.

After such sale, the county commissioners shall make and deliver a deed, being acknowledged before an officer authorized to acknowledge deeds. Where the sale is made without securing an order of court, as aforesaid, such deed shall pass such title as the county commissioners have a right to convey, but where the sale is made after securing an order, as aforesaid, such deed shall pass title free, clear and discharged of all tax and municipal claims, liens, mortgages, charges and estates of whatsoever kind.

All public or private sales of any such lands heretofore made by any county commissioners shall be valid and binding on the county, and all deeds and conveyances given by the county for any such lands are hereby ratified, confirmed and validated, and the purchasers thereof and their respective heirs, successors and assigns shall hold and may convey such titles and estates indefeasibly as to any rights of the county therein, notwithstanding the fact that the time within which such sales were by law required to be made had expired when such sales were made.

(17 amended May 24, 1945, P.L.945, No.375)

Section 19.   The provisions of this act, in so far as they are the same as those of any act repealed by this act, or of any existing act, shall be construed as a continuation of such laws and not as new enactments.

The repeal by this act of any provisions of existing laws shall not affect the validity or lien of any taxes heretofore returned by any tax collector or receiver of taxes to the county commissioners, or affect, abate or prevent any suit or prosecution pending to enforce collection of the same, or affect the sale of any lands pursuant to such existing laws; and as to taxes heretofore returned to the county commissioners pursuant to existing laws, this act shall be so construed only as to affect the remedy for enforcing collection of such taxes so returned on which proceedings for collection have not been heretofore instituted.



Section 20.    The provisions of this act, shall be severable, and if any of its provisions shall be held to be unconstitutional, the decision of the court shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of this act. It is hereby declared as the legislative intent that this act would have been adopted by the General Assembly had such unconstitutional provisions not been included therein.

Section 21.    No tax collector shall make any return of taxes as provided in this act, if the taxing authorities shall notify such tax collector in writing that returns shall not be made, but that delinquent taxes are to be collected by the filing of liens in the office of the prothonotary.


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