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What purpose does a quiet title action serve?

On Behalf of | Oct 28, 2021 | Real Estate Law |

Are you currently involved in a property dispute where both you and someone else claim rights to the same piece of land or home? Have your attempts to resolve differences of opinions about the property’s ownership led to nowhere? If so, then your situation might warrant quieting the title.

The quiet title action process has one aim: to help interested parties determine who is the true owner of a property when ownership is unclear.

What is a quiet title action, when is it used, and what does it entail?

A title company or real estate attorney must pull the deed to the property in question as the first step in the quiet title process. They must then analyze it to ascertain whether there’s a lien on the property due to one of the following factors:

  • A mortgage payoff not having been appropriately documented
  • Unpaid taxes
  • A contract breach, such as with a construction company

Generally, a payoff or other mutually agreeable resolution will resolve any disputes over true ownership.

There are instances in which the executor of a decedent’s estate may initiate quiet title proceedings before attempting to turn over assets to an heir or beneficiary. They can rest comfortably knowing that it’s not somehow encumbered by taking this additional step. Should they find out that there is a lien on it, for example, they’d want to have the estate pay it off before transferring the property.

Boundary disputes may also warrant someone pursuing a quiet title action. One of the more common uses is if individuals who share adjoining property dispute the ownership of a feature, such as a body of water, fence, or driveway. A quiet title action can help clear up who the property feature belongs to.

Why you should insist on pursuing a quiet title action

As someone who owns real estate, you likely know that it takes some time to close on a property. One holdup is that a title search has to occur to check for encumbrances such as the ones described above. Property disputes can easily evolve into drawn-out and costly legal matters. Take time to resolve your property dispute now once and for all.