When discussing real estate, a “title” refers to someone’s right to the property’s legal ownership and use. When you own the title to a piece of property, it signifies that you have the right to control it.
Questions or “clouds” on a title, as a result, can be a big headache for property owners. Without a clear title, it can be virtually impossible to sell the property – and sometimes even difficult to put it to any real use.
Quiet title actions affirm rightful ownership and end adverse claims
A quiet title action is a legal proceeding that aims to establish clear and unambiguous ownership rites, eliminating all uncertainties or competing claims to the property. They’re undertaken for all sorts of reasons, but three of the most common include:
- Boundary disputes: Property lines can be blurred and boundary markers obscured over time. When neighbors with adjoining properties have conflicting ideas of the boundary lines between them, it can easily lead to disputes. A quiet title action can be used to determine accurate boundaries.
- Mistakes on the deed: Even something as small as a misspelled name on a deed from a property transfer decades before can cloud a title and make ownership unclear. The quiet title action can basically “clean things up” with the documentation so that there are no more questions.
- Unresolved encumbrances: Sometimes a title is clouded due to unresolved liens or other encumbrances. These can include things like tax liens, contractor liens and judgments for debts. Often, these are already paid off or expired by the time they’re discovered, but the documentation isn’t clear. A quiet title action can clear those away so that the property can be used as collateral for a loan or sold.
If you are struggling with a real estate issue caused by a complicated or clouded title, exploring your legal options can help you get out of the trap you’re in and move forward.