Unseated lands selling of for taxes

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Act of Mar. 13, 1815, P.L. 177, No. 128

Cl. 53



To amend the act, entitled "An act directing the mode of selling unseated lands for taxes, and for other purposes."


Compiler's Note:  Section 801 of Act 542 of 1947 provided that Act 128 is repealed in so far as it applies to taxing districts coming within the provisions of and operating under Act 542.

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in General Assembly met, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That the treasurers of the several counties in this commonwealth, shall be, and they are hereby respectively authorized and directed, to commence on the second Monday in June, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixteen, and at the expiration of every two years thereafter, and adjourn from day to day if it shall be found necessary so to do, and make public sale of the whole or any part of such tracts of unseated lands, situate in the proper county, as will pay the arrearages of the taxes, any part of which shall then have remained due and unpaid for the space of one year before, together with all costs necessarily accruing by reason of such delinquency, and to make and execute a deed or deeds, in fee simple, in the manner directed by the act to which this is a further supplement; and in one other newspaper in or nearest to the county where such lands lie, under the penalty of fifty dollars, in each and every case, to be recovered by the owner or owners of the land sold as aforesaid, as debts of like amount are by law recoverable, but the neglect of such treasurer to cause the said publications to be made, shall not, in any case, invalidate any sale made in pursuance of the provisions of this act.

(1 repealed in part Mar. 9, 1847, P.L.278, No.221)

Section 2.  Treasurer to execute deeds for lands sold by predecessor; validation

When any treasurer, who shall have made sale of unseated lands, as aforesaid, shall die or be removed from office, or when the term of office of such treasurer shall have expired, before any deed or deeds are executed by him to the purchaser or purchasers, then, and in every such case, it shall be the duty of the treasurer, for the time being, to perfect such title and execute a deed or deeds to the purchaser or purchasers, and they are hereby empowered and required, upon the full discharge and payment of the money or price for which the said lands were sold, with such cost and charges as remain unpaid to the former treasurer, to make, execute and acknowledge any deed or deeds, and to perform and do all other matters and things that by the former treasurer might, could or ought to have been performed or done, which, when done, shall be held and adjudged as effectual in law as if the title had been completed by the former treasurer; and any deed or deeds heretofore executed by any treasurer in accordance with this section are hereby validated.

(2 amended Apr. 13, 1933, P.L.34, No.29)

Section 3.  Payment of purchase money

It shall be the duty of the purchaser at treasurers' sales, as soon as any deed or deeds shall have been tendered, after the deeds are acknowledged in the court of common pleas of the proper county, by the treasurer who made the sale, or his successor, as the case may be, to pay to the treasurer the amount of the purchase money, or such part thereof as shall be necessary to pay off the taxes and costs, and also to pay, in addition, the sum of one dollar for the use of the prothonotary for entering the acknowledgment of the deed; and in case the amount is not forthwith paid, it is hereby declared to be the duty of the treasurer to bring an action of debt, in the name of the proper county, for the same, in such courts as debts of equal amount are by law recoverable, and when judgment is obtained there shall be no stay of execution, nor shall it be competent for the defendant in such suit, to give, in evidence, any irregularity in the assessments or proceedings of the commissioners or treasurer, touching any sale made in pursuance of this act.  1815, March 13, P.L. 177, 6 sm. L. 299, Sec. 3.

Section 4.  Owners may redeem within two years

If the owner or owners of lands sold as aforesaid, shall make, or cause to be made, within two years after such sale, an offer or legal tender of the amount of the taxes for which the said lands were sold, and the costs, together with the additional sum of fifteen per cent on the same, to the county treasurer, who is hereby authorized and required to receive and receipt for the same, and to pay it over to the said purchaser upon demand, and if it shall be refused by the said treasurer, or in case the owner or owners of land so sold, shall have paid the taxes due on them, previously to the sale, then, and in either of these cases, said owner or owners shall be entitled to recover the same by due course of law, but in no other case and on no other plea, shall an action be sustained, and it is hereby declared that so much of the act to which this is a supplement, (Act of 1804, April 3, P.L. 517 as requires notice of the taxes being due and sale thereon to be given in certain public newspapers, is repealed, and that no alleged irregularity in the assessment, or in the process or otherwise, shall be construed or taken to affect the title of the purchaser, but the same shall be declared to be good and legal.

Provided, That where the owner or owners of land sold as aforesaid, shall, at the time of such sale, be an orphan or orphans, or insane, and residing within the United States, two years after such disability is removed, shall be allowed such person or persons, their heirs or legal representatives, to bring their suit or action for recovery of the lands so sold, but where the recovery is affected in such cases, the value of the improvements made on the land so sold, after the sale thereof, shall be ascertained by the jury trying the action for recovery, and paid by the person or persons recovering the same, before he, she or they shall obtain possession of the lands so recovered. 1815, March 13, P.L. 177, 6 sm.L. 299, Sec. 4; 1935, July 12, P.L. 663, Sec. 1.

Section 5.  Commissioners to purchase lands not bringing taxes and costs; taxation

If any tract of unseated land, hereafter to be sold for taxes due at this time, or which shall hereafter be imposed, shall not have bidden for it a sum equal to the whole amount of taxes for which it shall have been advertised, and the costs accrued, then, and in that case, it shall be the duty of the commissioners of the proper county, or any one of them, to bid off the same, and a deed shall thereupon be made by the treasurer to the commissioners for the time being, and to their successors in office, to and for the use of the proper county, and it shall be the duty of the commissioners to provide a book, wherein shall be entered the name of the person as whose estate the same shall have been sold, the quantity of land, and the amount of taxes it was sold for, and every such tract of land shall not thereafter, so long as the same shall remain the property of the county, be charged in the duplicate of the proper collector; but for five years next following such sale, if it shall so long remain unredeemed, the commissioners shall, in separate columns in the same book, charge every such tract of land with reasonable county and road tax, according to the quality of the said land, not exceeding in any case the sum of six dollars for every hundred acres.  1815, March 13, P.L. 177, 6 sm. L. 299, Sec. 5.

Section 6.  Right of redemption to endure for five years

The right of redemption shall remain in the real owner of such land for five years after such sale, and on paying the treasurer of the county all the taxes and costs due thereon at the time of sale, and interest therefor for the same time, and also the taxes which shall have been assessed thereon from year to year after the sale and interest of each assessment to be counted from the time it ought to have been paid, and on the production of the treasurer's receipt, the commissioners shall, by deed poll, indorsed on the back of the treasurer's deed to them, convey to the person who shall have been the owner of the land at the time of sale, or his legal representative, all the right and title which the county may have acquired under such sale as aforesaid; the monies so received for road taxes shall be paid to the supervisors of the roads of the townships within which such lands shall lie, on orders to be drawn by the commissioners on the treasurer to be applied by them in making and repairing the roads and highways in their respective townships.  1815, March 13, P.L. 177, 6 sm. L. 299, Sec. 6.

Section 7.  And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if the owner of any such land shall not redeem the same within the period aforesaid, it shall thereafter be lawful for the commissioners to sell any such land, by public sale, and make a deed therefor to the purchaser, which shall be available in law, as well against the county as against the person or persons as whose estate the same had been sold, but no tract shall be sold for a sum less than the amount of taxes, costs and interest which shall be due at the time of such sale by the commissioners, and such land shall thereafter be charged by the township assessors in the name of such last purchaser or redeemer, as other lands of equal value may be charged, and shall again be liable to be assessed and sold for taxes, agreeably to this act and the act to which this is a supplement.

Section 8.  May be paid in advance

Any board of commissioners may direct the treasurer of the proper county to receive in advance, for any term not exceeding six years, a sum which in their estimation shall be equal to the taxes that ought to be imposed on any such land or lands, during the period for which they shall so compound with the owner as aforesaid.  1815, March 13, P.L. 177, 6 sm. L. 299, Sec. 8.

Section 9.  Form of treasurer's deed

The form of the deed required by this act to be executed by the treasurer to the commissioners, may be in the following words, viz.: Whereas, A tract of unseated land containing --- acres, situate --- Township, in the County of ------ surveyed to ------ hath been rated and assessed with divers taxes, to wit, county taxes ------ dollars, and road taxes ------ dollars, which remain unpaid, and the treasurer having offered the same for sale, agreeably to law, and no person bidding therefor a sum equal to the amount of taxes due, and the costs of advertising and sale, it therefore became the duty of the commissioners to buy the same, which they have accordingly done on the ------ day of ------ last past, for the sum of ------ dollars.  Now, this Indenture witnesseth, that i, ------ Treasurer of said county, do, for and in consideration of the said sum, grant, bargain and sell the said tract of land to ------ Commissioners of said county, to hold to them and their successors in office forever, subject to the redemption allowed by law.  In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal, the ------ day of ------

Sealed and delivered in the presence of ------                             (seal)

Acknowledged by the grantor before ------ one of the justices of the Peace of the County of ------

Witness the hand and seal of said justice, the ------ day of ------ (seal)

All which sales to the commissioners shall be entered by their clerk in their book of minutes, as well as any redemption which may happen and sales by them after the right to redeem is passed over. 1815, March 13, P.L. 177, 6 sm.L. 299, Sec. 9.


Compiler's Note: Section 28 of Act 207 of 2004 provided that any and all references in any other law to a "district justice" or "justice of the peace" shall be deemed to be references to a magisterial district judge.

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