What is a Quiet Title Action?
When you purchase real estate, you're typically spending or borrowing a substantial amount of money. With so much on the line, you want to make sure you have what is called “clear title” to the property you're buying. You certainly don't want to buy into a situation where someone crawls out of the woodwork after the transaction's closed to claim they actually own all or part of what you've just paid lots of money to acquire.
That's where a “quiet title” proceeding can help. These are legal proceedings that are designed to make it clear who owns the title to a piece of property, and permanently close off the ability of any other person to claim it belongs to them.
A quiet title proceeding might be appropriate in situations where:
- The original owner of the property passed away and the person's estate is selling it. A quiet title action will help resolve any questions about heirs who might claim an ownership interest in the property.
- The buyer purchased the property at a tax auction, but liens against the property remain and need to be cleared from the records.
- A mortgage on the property has been paid off but the lender has not yet been removed as a lienholder against the property.
- The property was sold via a “quit claim” deed, meaning that the seller agreed to sell their interest in the property but did not make any promise that the title to the property was clear of other claims.
- Someone else has occupied the property for a long period, even though they don't own it and haven't leased it, in what is commonly known as “adverse possession.”
- There are unresolved disputes with neighbors or others about the boundaries of the property or easements.
- The property has been vacant and unoccupied for a long period and the owner of record or their heirs haven't been identified.
In the right circumstances, a quiet title proceeding can be a very useful tool for clearing up any questions about who owns a particular piece of property, giving one party clear and unambiguous rights to the property going forward. Our real estate attorneys understand the complexities of quiet title proceedings and can help you if it turns out that filing one makes sense for your situation. If you're purchasing a property that may have title issues, or if you own property that has title issues, give us a call at 720-441-3328 or request a free consultation using our consultation request form to find out more.