What is a quiet title action?

| Jan 21, 2021 | Firm News |

A residential real estate transaction generally represents the single largest financial commitment an individual or couple will ever undertake – only eclipsed if they decide to later buy a larger home. With so much at stake, it is wise to seek legal guidance when there are complexities or concerns regarding various documents or the transaction process itself. Home buyers might be shocked to learn they need to pursue a quiet title action to settle a dispute, finalize paperwork or clarify ownership.

It is not uncommon for disagreements to come to light regarding a property’s title. Often, a legal action is needed to settle these claims or “quiet” the issue. It isn’t always as aggressive as one party challenging another party as to who the rightful property owner is. The quiet title action could be related to a clerical error or missing records. No matter the source of the dispute, the issue must be resolved.

While there are a multitude of scenarios that might require a quiet title action, here are three common reasons:

  • Boundary disputes: It is not uncommon for disputes to arise around the property’s boundary lines. A dispute with a neighbor might trigger this action. Additionally, the lack of a complete survey could necessitate a quiet title action.
  • Heirs claiming ownership: If the property is sold at an estate sale, an heir or surviving loved one might make a claim against the title. Additionally, the buyer might initiate the quiet title action to legally clarify a clean title and establish that there are no disputes.
  • Deed errors: A quiet title action might be pursued when it comes to light that certain clerical errors were made on the deed to the property. These errors will need to be corrected to prevent any future disputes.

These are three common scenarios, but there are myriad reasons why a quiet title action might be pursued. Property easements, for example, or the lack of physical records that prove the mortgage was paid off might necessitate legal action. Do not hesitate to work with an experienced real estate attorney when you are buying or selling property.