Over the years, as a piece of property changes hands multiple times, mistakes can be made that lead to problems when the current owner creates their estate plan, refinances their existing mortgage, sells, builds on the property or uses it as collateral to get a new loan.
A “quiet title action” is a type of civil lawsuit that’s designed to eliminate any disputes about the ownership or title to a piece of property.
Examples of issues that can lead to a quiet title action
There are a lot of different scenarios that can lead to a quiet title action. Some of the most common include the following:
- You purchased a property through a foreclosure sale or sheriff’s sale, and you want to make absolutely certain that no prior claims remain on the title.
- You inherit property from a relative or friend and you’re concerned that some known or unknown heir will later come forward and try to press a claim.
- You find mistakes on the deed after a new survey has been performed that affect the official description of your property.
- You find a decades-old lien against the property that’s tied to a company that’s no longer in business or a former owner, and it’s interfering with your ability to sell or refinance.
- You want to clear a problematic and long-defunct easement on the title, and it’s causing problems with your ability to sell or make improvements to your property.
The vast majority of quiet title actions end up being fairly smooth. Since many title defects are decades old by the time they are discovered, they’re seldom contested. However, it’s generally wisest to make sure that you have experienced legal assistance as you move through the process.