What is a Quiet Title Action?

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Each time a piece of property changes ownership, defects or errors in the title may occur. A cloud, or any potential claim on the title may also arise. It is important if you are establishing ownership that you receive a good and marketable title. A quiet title action, also known as an action of quiet title, is a legal proceeding that is intended to clarify and ownership of a given property. Quiet title actions are typically used in cases where title ownership is in question such as following mortgage lender disputes, the death of title owners, cases of adverse possession, and long periods of time where the property is unoccupied. A party with a claim of ownership to land can file an action to quiet title, which serves as a sort of lawsuit against anyone and everyone else who has a claim to the land. 

A quiet title action occurs when one property claimant challenges one or more other people in a court of law for the purpose of determining who is the rightful legal owner of the property in question. It is intended to remove, or “quiet,” the conflicting claims on the property by clarifying the question of legal ownership and eliminating any discrepancies in the title. If the owner prevails in the quiet title action, no further challenges to the title can be brought and the plaintiff will be in full possession of the property, as will be his or her heirs. As the established owner of the property, the plaintiff will also be protected from any further claims of ownership made against the property by other outside entities.

Title defects can have a negative impact on your property:

You may need to file a quiet title action if a link in the chain of title, or list of people who have owned a property before the current owner, of a property is either broken or incorrect. If an ownership link is broken, for any reason, a person can begin the process of quiet title action. Even if the parties involved in the action know who the property should belong to, a quiet title action can and should still be initiated. A quiet title lawsuit would allow you, as property owner, to establish and confirm ownership of a piece of property. Many times, the process is complicated by the fact that the land has changed possession several times over the years, requiring a thorough review of all documentation. It is important to cure title defects because title defects and other potential claims can have a negative impact on your property. Title defects can:

  • Prevent an owner from transferring the property free and clear
  • Decrease value of the land or property
  • Challenge an owner’s ability to exercise rights

When to initiate a quiet title action?

A quiet title action might be used to clear up claims on the ownership of real property, or other property that is titled, following the death of the owner, particularly when there is a question regarding whether all of the heirs have been notified of the sale of the estate. It can also be used to resolve issues with a mortgage lender whose interest in the property was not properly dealt with after the loan was paid off. Quiet title actions can also be used to clear the title to a property that has been unoccupied for some time, allowing for outside parties to make bids for its purchase.

Other grounds for a quiet title action include the conveyance of an interest in the property via a quitclaim deed in which the previous owner disclaims interest, but does not promise that the title is clear. Additionally, quiet title actions could be used to convey title to a property in the case of adverse possession, in which a party occupies property that is legally not theirs for purposes of laying claim to it. It can be used to settle tax issues with a property; boundary disputes; errors in surveying; fraudulent conveyance of the property by coercion or forged deed; or competing claims by lien holders or missing heirs.

The best course of action in this scenario is to hire an attorney with experience in this area that will know the correct steps to take in order to repair the chain of property ownership.

A quiet title action attorney will:

  • Describe the title defects to the court;
  • Ask the judge to fix the defects with an order by declaring the true owner of the property; and
  • File the order in the county property records.

Through these legal actions, you could effectively fix the chain of title. If, however, there is a dispute over the property, the issue may become a legal dispute where a judge will determine who the rightful owner is before filing a declaration order in the county records.

Contact Skillern Law Firm, PLLC

If you are having trouble establishing ownership of a property, get in touch with Skillern Law Firm, PLLC today. Our law firm is dedicated to providing our clients with strong legal representation. The attorney at Skillern Law Firm can help you seek the results you deserve. Whether you are a landowner seeking to confirm your ownership or another party with a viable claim to the property, the attorney at Skillern Law Frim is committed to achieving the best outcome possible.

The attorney at the Skillern Law Firm, PLLC can help. For more information, reach out to us today at (918) 805-2511 or contact@skillernlaw.com.

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