Quiet Title Action

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“Consider a quiet title action before closing a Sacramento real estate transaction. But what exactly is a Sacramento quiet title? What are the benefits? Learn how “Quiet Title Action” simplifies property disputes & secures your rights. Explore its process, benefits, and steps to initiate today.”

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Quiet Title Action

The Quiet Title Action: What Is It?

What does quiet title mean? Legally speaking, a property title identifies a property’s legal owner, defines its legal rights, and states the laws governing its sale and transfer.

If you have no record of the title, the title is “cloudy.” For example, your property may be subject to liens, squatters, or a neighbor contesting the boundaries. In this case, you can “quiet the title” to end any objections.

It is possible to remove the clouds from your title and thus leave you with a clean title and all the rights that come with it. This bundle of rights includes:

  • Possession rights
  • Property control
  • Property rights
  • Inheritance, gift, or sale of property to another party
  • Collateral rights to the property

A clean title establishes who owns the property, making it more difficult for anyone else to challenge it.


The Reason a Property Owner Files a Quiet Title Suit?

An individual might file a quiet title action for two reasons:

  1. Technical Title Defect. In some cases, the actual owner is not in dispute. However, defects in the title record cause difficulty in selling or refinancing the property. It is possible to resolve this issue by preparing a quiet title.
  2. Actual Ownership Dispute. Disputes over real estate ownership exist when two or more parties claim to own the same property. A quiet title can resolve these disputes.


Quiet Title Actions: When Do You Need Them?

The following are some of the reasons why title disputes arise:


Estate sales:

Buying a property at an estate sale can result in a title dispute if the seller’s family members dispute the deal, believing they are entitled to the property.


Removing lienholders:

Using a quiet title action, you can bring your case to court when you believe a lien has been unwarranted on your property. Likewise, the suit requires lienholders to explain their lien to the court. If the lienholder does not appear or the judge rules in your favor, the lien will disappear.


Breaks in the chain of title:

There are typically multiple owners throughout a chain of titles, showing continuous ownership even if there are various owners over time—the chain of title records who owned the property and when the title changed ownership.

If there was a period when it was unclear who owned the property, a quiet title action could occur. You will obtain quiet title only if the defendants respond by the court’s deadline.


Quit claim deeds:

Typically, a quit claim deed is used by families to transfer property to another family member when the owner relinquishes their legal rights to the property.

The quit claim deed, however, does not provide you with any protections if someone else claims the property. To clear up any cloud on the title, you should file a quiet title action. The title insurance you buy for a property from a quit claim deed can protect you against loss.

Squatter’s rights or “adverse possession”: When someone lives on your property without your permission, it is considered an adverse possession, also known as squatter’s rights.

According to state law, settlers may entitle themselves to ownership after living there for a specified period. In California, for example, a squatter can claim property ownership after occupying it for five or 18 years.


Easement and boundary disputes:

The quiet title action can also resolve other title disputes, including legal boundaries and access to your property. Someone can access your property if they share your driveway or have to cross your land to get there.

Even if you do not have a written agreement, they may be able to assert a right to continue using your property for a specific purpose if they have used it for a long time. Further, a quiet title action can resolve disputes over property lines with a neighbor.


What Are the Steps to Filing a Quiet Title Action?

How to respond to a quiet title action? You must file a quiet claim action in a court of law if you want to assert ownership over your neighbors after another party makes a claim. The process varies from state to state, but typically it takes eight to 12 weeks and consists of the following steps:


What Are the Steps to Filing a Quiet Title Action?


Obtain a copy of the deed.

You will need the deed to prove that you own the property, which you can find at the county recorder’s office.


Investigation of ownership and title

Ensure you have evidence proving you’re the property’s legal owner before filing your quiet title action. As a result, some specific research will be conducted to identify the current ownership status.

You can find county land records online; however, you may save time and simplify the process by going through a title company. You should ask the title company for a title commitment indicating what needs to happen to fix any title problems.

Many title companies provide comprehensive title commitments with insurance for prices ranging from $600 to $1,200.


Complaint for Quiet Title

An attorney will file a lawsuit to quiet the title, which will appear on your behalf as the plaintiff (the person who files the lawsuit for property ownership). The defendants are all those asserting ownership rights against you.

In the suit, you should include the names of the other parties. You must legally notify them to ensure your court order is effective. In most states, the process is served by a private process server or certified mail, but check the requirements in your state.


Get a final judgment.

After hearing arguments from you and the defendants, the judge will issue a final decision. If you receive a favorable decision from the judge, the defendants will not be able to claim ownership in the future. Alternatively, if the judge believes the defendants have more evidence to support their ownership rights, the property rights may be transferred to them.

When the defendant fails to respond by the required deadline after you serve them with the lawsuit, you may win a default judgment against them.


How much does a quiet title action cost?

In most states, the quiet title action cost associated with bringing an action ranges from $1,500 to $5,000 or more, depending on the state and the complexity of the action.


In What Ways Are Quiet Title Actions Beneficial?

How to be successful in quiet title action? Several factors can lead an individual to file a quiet title action, including:

  • Resolving property ownership disputes.
  • Taking care of leans against the property (for example, owing taxes and debts).
  • The resolution of boundary disputes.
  • Negotiating and resolving easement disputes.
  • It is crucial to fill in any gaps in the title, especially if the property was unoccupied for some time.

An estate sale involves an estate sale, and the quiet title Nevada action is especially effective if the owner dies before approving the sale.


Is It Possible To Do A Quiet Title Myself/Can I do a Quiet Title myself?

Quiet titles are legal lawsuits, so anyone can submit a calm title in their name. However, you should only do it yourself “quiet title” if you possess the right tools, templates, knowledge, and mindset.

Is it possible to create a quiet title by myself/ Can you do it yourself quiet title? Yes, if you follow each of the above steps.


I: The Research Process

A title company must remove a title defect to qualify for satisfactory title insurance. For this reason, the primary title defect is usually identified for you. A quiet title is typically necessary when a title defect is present. In contrast, the title company does not provide detailed instructions on how to cure the title defect.

Instead, they give you a few short sentences that tell you to “cure” it. This is why you should thoroughly investigate the title abstract and county records to understand the defect completely. You should identify any party entitled to the property during the research process.


II: Prepared A Few “Ancillary Pleadings” In Addition To Your Petition.

A quiet title petition is the primary document needed. Review state law before drafting the petition to ensure its content and structure meet all required requirements. It would help if you prepared a few “ancillary pleadings” in addition to your petition.

These may include summons, civil cover sheets, and a notice of publication (if necessary). If you get something wrong, it could come back to haunt you later on. Sometimes, you may need to request waivers from certain defendants, which would require additional documentation.

  • To draft a quiet title petition:
  • Tell the title’s story from the beginning.

Describe how the property changed hands from one owner to the next and identify the title defect. You will need to acknowledge the title defect but convince the court it isn’t a problem after explaining why it does not prevent you from acquiring ownership.

Suppose, for example, that my great-grandpa did not probate this property, but everyone knows that it passed to me.

In an orange quiet title petition, you will use more formal language, but that’s the idea. Find out how the attorney prepares peaceful Los Angeles quiet title petitions.


III: File Your Lawsuit And Serve It To All Defendants.

Upon drafting the initial pleadings, you must file your lawsuit and serve it to all defendants. Unless you have done all defendants in compliance with the law, the final judgment will not affect them.

You can usually serve named defendants by certified mail or process server. However, you may help them by publication if they need help locating them. The magazine has its own rules. Make sure you are familiar with the applicable law in your state.


IV: Seek a Default Judgment

A quiet title action that has received a challenge will involve the other party answering your petition, launching you into litigation. Most quiet title actions do not require an answer, so the petition usually needs one. In this case, determine if each defendant has a deadline for answering.

You can seek a default judgment if none of the named defendants answer. The Motion for Default Judgment and related pleadings must accompany the motion to obtain a default judgment.

As a rule, you will need a pleading which proves that the defendant was served and did not respond. Sometimes, a motion for default judgment goes hand in hand with a move for a final decision. Your state law determines the exact steps you need to take.


V: Record the Decision

When judgment isn’t used, it doesn’t do any good. Record the decision with the county clerk first. In doing so, you make it a part of the land records. It becomes a link in the chain of titles. By curing the title defect, the quiet title judgment repairs the chain of title.

It is essential to present the judgment to the title company or the adverse parties after it becomes independent. At this moment, you must hold your breath and hope that everything goes as planned.

The title company may only accept your judgment if you handled the quiet title with an attorney. Therefore, you have to try again if they leave your review. Additionally, if the title company knows you dealt with the quiet title alone, without an attorney, they may be incredibly picky about your final judgment. They aim to be as risk-free as possible to prevent all potential risks.


What Is The Best Way To Fight A Quiet Title Action?

You can fight a quiet title action by producing a deed and other evidence that you hold superior title and that their claim is invalid or mistaken if you find yourself facing a quiet title action. The defense requires that you appear at a legal hearing to defend your title. You should hire a skilled and knowledgeable attorney to assist you.


Bottom Line

A quiet title action may establish you as the legal owner of the property, whether you want to show ownership against a squatter or dispute property lines with your neighbor.

Hiring a reputable real estate attorney with so much on the line may be worthwhile. To be successful in a quiet title action, you must follow the local process requirements.

Hedy Ghavidel

HEDY GHAVIDEL Managing Attorney  Roseville Office  1-866-471-6981  info@attorneysre.com Bio...

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