Whether you’ve just purchased your first piece of property, inherited a home from a departed relative or are diving into the business of real estate development, you need to know that ownership of real property can get very murky very quickly. Before you get into the weeds on property ownership, you may want to consider the utility of a quiet title action.
A quiet title action is a type of lawsuit you can use to establish that you are the true and definitive owner of your property. Property ownership has the potential to become clouded in a multitude of ways. Something as simple as a clerical error on a legal document could lead to a major hassle. A quiet title action has the power to stop these problems before they start.
What does a quiet title action do?
A quiet title action establishes that you are the rightful owner of a property and removes the ability for any other individual or organization to argue that they have claim to your land due to legal haze. Laws vary from one region to another, but generally all you will need to file this type of action is to be the current possessor of the property.
For example, say someone inherits property from a departed family member. They then sell that property to you. There is the potential that another one of their relatives could turn up several years later to dispute the validity of the original inheritance, claiming the property should belong to them.
In this instance, you may find yourself in a legal battle for the home you’ve been living in for years. Filing a quiet title action when you purchased the property would have stripped the potential for legal wrinkles like this.
When do you need a quiet title action?
It’s a good idea to consider a quiet title action when you purchase any piece of property, but there are a few times when it is vital to make sure your new property unquestionably belongs to you.
- Foreclosure and tax sales – There is no shortage of interested parties when a forced sale or seized property is in play. Don’t let your rightful property ownership become clouded by money lenders, the original owners and everyone in between.
- Quitclaim deed – A quitclaim deed is a deed which quickly transfers ownership of a property from one person to another. They’re typically used when circumstances change very quickly, like in a divorce. While a quitclaim legally transfers ownership, it does not address other issues which may exist on the title. A quiet title action would eliminate any possible interest a former spouse or others could have.
- Title errors – When a major action occurs, such as using property for a secured loan or the removal of an individual during a divorce, a record of that event is kept at a registry of deeds. If your property has a long record of events, you may want to consider using a quiet title action to clean up any possible errors that could lead to dispute over property ownership.
A quiet title action is a prudent decision to make when you buy property. It ensures safety for you and your investment. These laws and processes are designed specifically to safeguard your investment; don’t let a minor turn into a court case and possible loss of your home.