Titles are important for all property owners. This legal instrument clearly identifies the owner and the property being owned. Titles ensure that you can protect and defend your financial investment and make a home for your family.
But there are situations in which a title becomes the subject of a legal dispute. This situation often results in a legal action few people understand: quiet title actions. If you're having a title dispute, here's what quiet title means for you and how it can resolve your problems.
What is Quiet Title?
The term quiet title refers to the need to "quiet" other claims against a property title. These claims could be from fraudulent titles, from property disputes, or from bad documentation. The quiet title action allows an owner to show the court their evidence that they are the legitimate owner of the property and to request that the court confirm this legally.
Some quiet title actions are simple because no other parties come forward to dispute the title and a clear title can be quickly rendered. If other parties do dispute your claim, you generally need to show evidence of your legitimate claim and that you entered into the purchase in good faith.
When is Quiet Title Action Needed?
So, what sort of situation might call for a quiet title action? Since this situation stems from any socalled "clouds" on the title, it can involve a variety of title issues - minor to major.
For instance, the title may have incorrect information on it (such as a wrong address). If an unknown mortgage was transferred to you along with the title or another lien-holder asserts rights, you may seek relief from this undue burden.
Legal action may also be necessary if more than one person claims the property, if not all heirs gave permission for an estate sale, or if the boundaries of the property are not well established (including easements and incomplete surveys).
If you receive a house or land through less formal means, you'd do well to establish the title's veracity through a quiet title even before problems arise. These situations includes transactions like quitclaim deeds, tax sales, and foreclosures.
Because such properties may have a troubled history or a title transfer that occurred without proper vetting, take the time to establish your legitimate ownership as soon as possible. Failure to do so can mean trouble selling a property later on.
What Further Complications Could Occur?
While having a quiet title action is a little complex by itself, there can be additional issues as well. The most common of these issues are fraudulent titles. An intentionally fraudulent title may cause a separate fraud case to be opened and the alternate title quieted that way. If a mortgage company is involved in your title, you may also have to work with them to make a quiet title claim.
Depending on who is involved in your title dispute - such as other potential owners or a probate court - there are also notification requirements you must adhere to. Complying with these can prolong the process and cost money.
What Should You Do?
Do you think you may need to start a quiet title claim? This is a time to get help with your legal case. Legal title issues can be complicated for most owners to fully understand. You may also need to compile appropriate evidence of your claim and follow specific rules for the court.
At Hassen & Associates, we have experience in all types of real estate law, including title issues. Contact our experts today for a consultation about your individual situation and how we can help resolve it.