Judicial Tax Sales – Not Just Any Notice Will Do

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In Re: Sale of Real Estate by Lackawanna County Tax Claim Bureau

If a taxing body serves notice of a judicial tax sale by using a state constable instead of a sheriff, should the tax sale be set aside? In its decision issued on May 17, 2011, the Commonwealth Court determined that such a sale should be set aside for failure of proper notice.

In certain counties of Pennsylvania, tax sales may be governed by the Real Estate Tax Law of 1947, 72 P.S. § 5960.101 et. seq. (the "Tax Sale Law").1 The Tax Sale Law sets forth procedures for (i) upset sales, which convey property subject to liens of record; and (ii) judicial sales, which convey property free and clear of liens and which are conducted only if the upset sale was unsuccessful. The notice provisions of the Tax Sale Law differ depending on the type of sale being conducted.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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