A quiet title action is a lawsuit or court action that when filed with the intentions to settle or establish the title to a real property. They frequently occur when there is a disagreement regarding real property title. The purpose of the lawsuit is to remove or “quiet” an objection or flawed claim to a title.
- A quiet title action offers little protection to the owner of a title from the previous owners.
- Quiet title actions are fairly common following disputes with mortgage lenders, after title owner deaths, adverse possession cases and prolonged times when real property is not occupied.
- Quiet title action beneficiaries frequently have protection from attempts by outsiders to make a property acquisition.
- When the ownership cannot be clearly defined, quiet title actions are often used.
- The purpose of a quiet title action is to legally clarify the owner of a certain real property.
- Quiet title actions are also sometimes necessary to enable a purchaser or seller of real property to obtain qualified title insurance.
The Quiet Title Action Process
This occurs when one claimant to a real property challenges the veracity of others in court with the aim of deciding the establishment of the person who is the rightful and legal owner of a real property. In quieting claims that conflict and by reducing any questionable aspects of the title, identifying, and establishing who has the true and valid legal ownership of said property. This is not often a speedy process and may take between 1 and 3 years to complete.
A quiet title action can be used to clear up issues of property ownership as well as clarifying other title property issues, for example, when the previous titleholder has died. This is especially so in where there are questions regarding whether everyone who is an heir has been correctly notified regarding the liquidation of an estate which includes real property. It also has resolution purposes. For example, with a lender of a mortgage who was not correctly dealt with in the past. It may also be utilized to clear the questions regarding the real property title that has not been occupied for a long period of time, with the goal of enabling outside parties capable to properly bid for the purchase.
Other situations may include property conveyance via the means of a deed of quitclaim, where the previous owners declare or disclaim of interest but cannot assure the validity of the current title. In cases of adverse possession, a quiet title action can also be beneficial. Quiet title can also help resolve tax issues, boundary disputes, surveying errors or fraudulent property conveyance by ways of forging or coercion and competing ownership claims from multiple parties who believe they have a legitimate claim of ownership to certain real property.
A real property owner does not necessarily possess an equal level of protection under a quiet title action against the previous owner. Property issues cannot always be resolved by the new owner taking legal action against the previous owner unless the property was taken over via a deed of warranty and then they take legal action for defects discovered post closing. It is also worth noting that a quiet title action is not a cure-all panacea. Every case will be unique and require particular expertise from your real estate lawyers and your real estate expert witnesses.
Source: Kenton, Will. “Quiet Title Action.” Investopedia, Investopedia, 29 Jan. 2020, www.investopedia.com/terms/q/quiet-title-action.asp.
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