appeal stems from a trial court order quieting title in favor
of TDGA, LLC (hereinafter "TDGA"). Appellant Peter
Mancuso argues, inter alia, that he did not receive proper
notice from TDGA regarding the foreclosure of his right of
redemption. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the ruling
of the trial court.
6, 2014, the Fulton County Sheriff sold a
property located at 154 Stafford Street S.W.,
Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia (hereinafter "subject
property") to TDGA at a tax sale. More than twelve
months after the date of the tax sale, TDGA acted to
foreclose the right of redemption of interested parties,
including Mancuso who was the executor of Marcia Brisco's
preparing the barment notices for the subject property, TDGA
found two different addresses for Mancuso, one by a Lexis
Nexis search, and one via Mancuso's petition to probate
will in solemn form filed in Fulton County; both addresses
were residences located in Conyers, Rockdale County, Georgia.
TDGA sent a copy of its notice foreclosing Mancuso's
right to redeem via certified return receipt mail pursuant to
OCGA § 48-4-45 (a) (2) to both addresses, but these
mailings were "Return[ed] to Sender Attempted - Not
Known Unable to Forward." TDGA also published notices in
the Fulton County Daily Report on May 20, and 27, and June 3,
and 10, 2015, for all persons, including Mancuso, who had an
interest in the subject property. All of the barment notices
listed the last day to tender the redemption amount as July
1, 2015, or forty-five days after legal service of the
notice, whichever date came later.
30, 2015, Mancuso sent a letter to counsel for TDGA admitting
he had seen one of the published notices in the Fulton County
Daily Report and requested that he be contacted to discuss
the subject property. Sometime during these subsequent
discussions, Mancuso informed TDGA that he did not receive
the barment notices that had been sent via certified mail
while acknowledging that he saw the notice of foreclosure in
the newspaper prior to July 1, 2015.
subsequently filed a quiet title action regarding the subject
property and, shortly thereafter, TDGA re-sent the barment
notice to Mancuso via certified mail to a third address - a
post office box; Mancuso received this notice on August 5,
2015, and signed for it on August 12, 2015. Mancuso answered
TDGA's complaint, denied its material allegations, made a
counterclaim alleging lack of proper notice, and demanded a
jury trial on all questions of fact.
trial court appointed a special master and, during a hearing
before the special master, Mancuso testified that, after the
tax sale of the property, and after the redemption period had
expired, he installed a tenant in the property and had
collected $1, 200 in rent. Mancuso also testified that the
address listed on the petition to probate will in solemn form
was, in fact, a "good" address at the time TDGA
sent the first two notices. In its report to the trial court,
the special master found that sufficient notice was provided
to all interested parties, and recommended that quiet title
be granted in favor of TDGA, and that $1, 200 be awarded to
TDGA for the rent Mancuso had illegally collected. The trial
court later adopted the special master's report as its
final order. Mancuso appealed to the Court of Appeals; the
case was subsequently transferred to this Court and submitted
on the briefs.
First, Mancuso challenges the finding that he received proper
notice of the foreclosure of his right to redeem.
Specifically, Mancuso argues that because he did not receive
the mailed notices prior to the July 1 foreclosure date, TDGA
could not foreclose on his right to redeem. We find no error.
Court has addressed the constitutional due process
requirements associated with notification that must be met in
order to properly foreclose an interested party's right
to redeem a property. See Reliance Equities, LLC v.
Lanier 5, LLC, 299 Ga. 891 (792 S.E.2d 680) (2016);
Saffo v. Foxworthy, Inc., 286 Ga. 284 (687 S.E.2d
463) (2009); Hamilton v. Renewed Hope, Inc., 277 Ga.
465 (589 S.E.2d 81) (2003). Most recently, in
Reliance, we concluded that a tax sale purchaser
must comply with the notice requirements listed in OCGA
§ 48-4-45 (a) before it can foreclose upon an interested
party's right to redeem. 299 Ga. at 895-896.
TDGA clearly met that burden as it applied to Mancuso. The
record shows that, after conducting a reasonable search, TDGA
sent notices to Mancuso's known addresses via certified
mail as required by OCGA § 48-4-45 (a) (2), as he
resided outside the county in which the property was located.
It further published the required notices in a newspaper in
the county where the property was located, see id. at (a)
(3), which Mancuso admitted to seeing prior to the barment
further reject Mancuso's argument that he was precluded
from redeeming the property because the barment date had
passed prior to his receipt of the mailed notice. First, the
notices allowed an interested party to redeem the subject
property by July 1, 2015 or forty-five days after
legal service of the notice, whichever was later. Putting
aside the fact that Mancuso had actual notice prior to the
July 1, 2015 barment date, he still had forty-five days to
exercise his right of redemption after receiving the notice
TDGA re-sent in August 2015; however, he chose not to do so.
Consequently, because TDGA complied with the required notice
procedure, the trial court did not err in quieting title in
Mancuso also complains that the trial court erred in denying
his timely request for a jury trial. It is well established
that "[w]hen one seeks conventional quia timet, he is
not entitled to trial by jury." (Citation omitted.)
Vatacs Group Inc. v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 292 Ga. 483,
483-484 (738 S.E.2d 83) (2013). However, "[w]hen one
seeks quia timet against all the world . . . he is entitled
by the provisions of OCGA § 23-3-66 to a jury trial,
" id., "if the evidence presented a question of
fact, " Gurley v. E. Atlanta Land Co., 276 Ga.
749, 750 (583 S.E.2d 866) (2003). Assuming, without deciding,
that this was an action to quiet title against the world,
Mancuso's claim fails as he does not explain, let alone
establish, that a question of fact existed for a jury's
determination. See Paul v. Keene, 272 Ga. 357, 358
(529 S.E.2d 135) (2000) ("If there were no genuine
issues of material fact to be resolved, it was not error for
the special master to apply the law to the facts of the
case."). Consequently, this claim is without merit.
discussed above, the special master recommended that the
trial court award $1, 200 in damages to TDGA for rents
illegally collected by Mancuso, and the trial court adopted
this recommendation in its order. On appeal, Mancuso contends
that the trial court erred in awarding these damages because
TDGA was not the fee simple owner of the property at the time
Mancuso was collecting rent and because TDGA had not
requested or prayed for these damages in its petition to
quiet title. We disagree.
TDGA was the fee simple owner of the property at the time
Mancuso was collecting rent. Our case law is clear that, once
the time period for the right to redeem a property expires,
and all interested parties have elected not to redeem, the
tax deed purchaser's interest in the land changes from a
defeasible fee simple to an indefeasible fee simple interest
in the property. National Tax Funding, L.P. v. Harpagon
Co., 277 Ga. 41 (1) & (2) (586 S.E.2d 235) (2003).
Here, at the time Mancuso was renting the property (December
2015-January 2016) the redemption period had expired, and
neither he nor any other interested party had ...