PRINTER'S NO. 996
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
811
Session of
2021
INTRODUCED BY FONTANA, MENSCH, COSTA AND L. WILLIAMS,
JULY 20, 2021
REFERRED TO URBAN AFFAIRS AND HOUSING, JULY 20, 2021
AN ACT
Amending the act of May 16, 1923 (P.L.207, No.153), entitled "An
act providing when, how, upon what property, and to what
extent, liens shall be allowed for taxes and for municipal
improvements, for the removal of nuisances, and for water
rents or rates, sewer rates, and lighting rates; for the
procedure upon claims filed therefor; the methods for
preserving such liens and enforcing payment of such claims;
the effect of judicial sales of the properties liened; the
distribution of the proceeds of such sales, and the
redemption of the property therefrom; for the lien and
collection of certain taxes heretofore assessed, and of
claims for municipal improvements made and nuisances removed,
within six months before the passage of this act; and for the
procedure on tax and municipal claims filed under other and
prior acts of Assembly," further providing for municipal
claims first lien, cities of first class, docketing, judgment
and execution, for cities of the first class, recovery of
judgment and sale free from claims, for redemption and for
rule to show cause, decree, service and notice and providing
disposition of property in cities of the second class.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Sections 3(b), 31.2(a), (b.1) and (b.2)(1) and
32(a) of the act of May 16, 1923 (P.L.207, No.153), referred to
as the Municipal Claim and Tax Lien Law, are amended to read:
Section 3. * * *
(b) With the exception of those claims which have been
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assigned, any municipal claim, municipal lien, tax, tax claim or
tax lien, including interest, penalty and costs, imposed by a
city of the first [class,] or second class or by a county of the
second class or by a municipality therein, shall be a judgment
only against the said property when the lien has been docketed
by the prothonotary. The docketing of the lien shall be given
the effect of a judgment against the said property only with
respect to which the claim is filed as a lien. The prothonotary
shall maintain an in rem index, the form and location of which
shall be within the prothonotary's discretion. All tax claims,
water rents or rates, lighting rates, power rates and sewer
rates heretofore filed are hereby ratified, confirmed and made
valid subsisting liens as of the date of their original filing.
* * *
Section 31.2. (a) In addition to the remedies prescribed in
sections [28,] 31 and 31.1 of this act, in cities of the first
[class,] or second class and counties of the second class and
any municipalities therein, whenever a claimant has filed its
tax or municipal claim in accordance with the requirements of
this act, it may file its petition in the court in which the
proceeding is pending, setting forth the facts necessary to show
the right to sell, together with searches or a title insurance
policy, showing the state of record and the ownership of the
property, and of all tax and municipal claims, liens, mortgages,
ground rents or other charges on, or estates in, the land, as
shown by the official records of the city or county, or the
political subdivision in which the real estate is situate, and
thereupon 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 the property be sold, freed and cleared
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of their respective claims, liens, mortgages, ground rents,
charges and estates. If upon a hearing, the court is satisfied
that service had been made of the rule upon the parties
respondent in the manner provided in [this act for the service
of writs of scire facias to obtain judgments upon tax and
municipal claims, and that contemporaneously with the service of
the rule on the parties respondent notice of the rule has been
published by the claimant in at least one newspaper of general
circulation in the county, and in a legal periodical published
therein, if any,] section 39.2 and that the facts stated in the
petition be true, it shall order and decree that the property be
sold at a subsequent sheriff's sale at a time to be fixed
thereafter by the claimant, clear of all claims, liens,
mortgages, ground rents, charges and estates, to the highest
bidder at such sale and after payment of the tax or municipal
lien the balance of the proceeds realized therefrom, shall be
distributed in accordance with the priority of the remaining
claims, liens, mortgages, ground rents, charges and estates, and
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,
ground rents, charges and estates of whatsoever kind, subject
only to the right of redemption as provided by law. The date of
the sale shall be advertised in at least one newspaper of
general circulation in the county in which the property is
located and in the legal periodical published therein.
* * *
(b.1) A city of the first or second class may, within thirty
days of any sale held under this section, petition the court of
common pleas to prohibit the transfer of any deed for any
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property exposed for any sale under this act which is located in
that city to any purchaser who is proven to meet any of the
criteria set forth in subsection (b.2).
(b.2) (1) The petition of a city of the first or second
class shall allege that the purchaser has over the three years
preceding the filing of the petition exhibited a course of
conduct which demonstrates that a purchaser permitted an
uncorrected housing code violation to continue unabated after
being convicted of such violation and:
(i) failed to maintain property owned by the purchaser in a
reasonable manner such that it posed a threat to health, safety
or property; or
(ii) permitted the use of property in an unsafe, illegal or
unsanitary manner such that it posed a threat to health, safety
or property.
* * *
Section 32. (a) The owner of any property sold under a tax
or municipal claim, or his assignees, or any party whose lien or
estate has been discharged thereby, may, except as provided in
subsection (c) of this section, redeem the same if the property
is not located in a city of the second class or a county of the
second class or a municipality therein at any time within nine
months from the date of the acknowledgment of the sheriff's deed
[therefor,] and if the property is located in a city of the
second class or a county of the second class or a municipality
therein at any time within three months from the date of the
acknowledgment of the sheriff's deed therefor, upon payment of
the amount bid at such sale; the cost of drawing, acknowledging,
and recording the sheriff's deed; the amount of all taxes and
municipal claims, whether not entered as liens, if actually
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paid; the principal and interest of estates and encumbrances,
not discharged by the sale and actually paid; the insurance upon
the property, and other charges and necessary expenses of the
property, actually paid, less rents or other income therefrom,
and a sum equal to interest at the rate of ten per centum per
annum thereon, from the time of each of such payments. If both
owner and creditor desire to redeem, the owner shall have the
right so to do only in case he pays the creditor's claim in
full. If more than one creditor desires to redeem, the one who
was lowest in lien at the time of sale shall have the prior
right, upon payment in full of the claim of the one higher in
lien. Within nine months if the property is not located in a
city of the second class or a county of the second class or a
municipality therein or within three months if the property is
located in a city of the second class or a county of the second
class or a municipality therein, one who was lower in lien may
redeem from one higher in lien who has already redeemed, and the
owner may redeem from him; and so on throughout, in each case by
paying the claim of the one whose right was higher; and one
higher in lien may redeem from one lower in lien, unless his
claim is paid; but in each case the right must be exercised
within [nine months] the time specified in this section.
* * *
Section 2. Section 39.2(a), (a.1), (b), (b.1) and (c) of the
act are amended to read:
Section 39.2. (a) In cities of the first [class,] or second
class and counties of the second class and municipalities
therein, notice of a rule to show cause why a property should
not be sold free and clear of all encumbrances issued by a court
pursuant to a petition filed by a claimant under section 31.2 of
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this act shall be served by the claimant upon owners,
mortgagees, holders of ground rents, liens and charges or
estates of whatsoever kind as follows:
(1) By posting a true and correct copy of the petition and
rule on the most public part of the property;
(2) By mailing by first class mail to the address registered
by any interested party pursuant to section 39.1 of this act a
true and correct copy of the petition and rule; and
(3) By reviewing a title search, title insurance policy or
tax information certificate that identifies interested parties
of record who have not registered their addresses pursuant to
section 39.1 of this act, the [city] claimant 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 records relating to the premises a true and
correct copy of the petition and rule.
Service of notice pursuant to this section shall be deemed
accomplished on the date of mailing. The [city] claimant shall
file an affidavit of service with the court prior to seeking a
decree ordering the sale of the premises.
(a.1) In counties of the second class and municipalities
therein, notice of a rule to show cause why a property should
not be sold free and clear of all liens and encumbrances issued
by a court pursuant to a petition filed by a claimant under
sections [28] 31 and 31.1 of this act shall be served by the
claimant upon owners, mortgagees, holders of ground rents, liens
and charges or estates of whatsoever kind as follows:
(1) By posting a true and correct copy of the petition and
rule on the most public part of the property.
(2) By reviewing a title search, title insurance policy or
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tax information certificate that identifies interested parties
of record, the county or municipality shall mail by first class
mail and either by certified mail, return receipt requested, or
by certificate of mailing to such addresses as appear on the
respective records relating to the premises a true and correct
copy of the petition and rule. Notice pursuant to this section
shall be deemed accomplished on the date of mailing. The [county
or municipality] claimant shall file an affidavit of service
with the court prior to seeking a decree ordering the sale of
the premises.
(b) No party whose interest did not appear on a title
search, title insurance policy or tax information certificate or
who failed to accurately register his interest and address
pursuant to section 39.1 of this act shall have standing to
complain of improper notice if the [city] claimant 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 or the
Department of Real Estate, as applicable, and the document
contains a current address sufficient to satisfy the notice
requirements of this section. Notwithstanding any other
requirement set forth in this act 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.
(b.1) No party whose interest did not appear on a title
search or title insurance policy, because of the party's failure
to record or properly record its interest, shall have standing
to complain of improper notice if the county or municipality
shall have complied with subsection (a.1). This provision shall
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not apply if the mortgage or interest was otherwise properly
recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds or the
Department of Real Estate, as applicable, and the document
contains a current address sufficient to satisfy the notice
requirements of this section. Notwithstanding any other
requirement set forth by subsection (a.1), notice thereunder
shall constitute the only notice required before a court may
enter a decree ordering a tax sale free and clear of liens.
(c) Notice of the court's decree ordering a tax sale,
together with the time, place and date of the sale, shall be
served by first class mail on all parties served with the
petition and rule, on any parties whose interest appeared of
record after the filing of the petition but before the court's
decree and on any creditor who has obtained judgment against the
owner of the premises prior to the date of the decree. The
[city] claimant shall file an affidavit of service of these
notices prior to the date of the sale.
* * *
Section 3. The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 39.6. The m ayor of a city of the second class may
designate an agency for the acquisition, administration,
maintenance and disposition of property acquired by the city of
the second class at a sheriff's sale. The city of the second
class, or its agent, may act as an agent for a taxing authority
having a claim against property under this section, pursuant to
a locally negotiated agreement that positively affirms the
consent by each taxing authority to allow the city of a second
class to act as an agent on each taxing authority's behalf. A
city of the second class acting as an agent for a taxing
authority under this section may take any actions necessary to
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protect and defend a taxing authority's rights and obligations
under this act.
Section 4. The amendment of section 32(a) of the act shall
apply to a sheriff's sale conducted on or after the effective
date of this section.
Section 5. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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