What is a Quiet Title Action?
Quiet Title in California is under the authority of the California Code of Civil Procedure §760.010 – §764.010. Quiet title actions are one of the most common types of real estate litigation. A quiet title action (also known as action of quiet title) is a lawsuit filed to establish or find resolution of title to real property between adverse parties. Quiet title causes of action arise when multiple parties claim ownership of or title to a property, and an owner seeks a declaratory judgment from the court “quieting title.” Indeed: “A bona fide purchaser without notice may seek a legal determination through a quiet title action that the title it obtained remains free and clear of any adverse interest in the property.” Vasquez v. LBS Financial Credit Union (2020) 52 Cal.App.5th 97, 107. Quite title actions are used to establish a clear title, remove unknown parties, or challenge anything clouding the title on property ranging from commercial to residential and even vacant land. As explained in our blog post on title vs. deed, a party in a quiet title action can be added to title regardless of whether the record owner executed a deed. Ownership and title disputes can thus be resolved through a quiet title action.
When to File a Quiet Title Action
There are many reasons why quiet title actions are filed. Some common reasons include:
- After purchasing a new property with disputed title.
- Mortgage lender disputes.
- When obtaining title insurance for your property.
- When purchasing a property after an owner’s death.
- If the selling individual passes away before a property sale is completed.
- If your property’s title has any issues that could potentially cause problems in the future.
- In tax sale and foreclosure purchases.
- As a property investor (to obtain future financing or resell the property).
- If you are investing in a property that you may transfer at a later date.
- In order to clear any cloud on the property title, often referred to as title defects.
- When issues arise in a preliminary title report.
- To determine the rightful owner of real property.
- To ask the court to rule on claims that a party holds only a legal interest as a title owner, but holds no equitable interest.
- To resolve boundary disputes and surveying errors.
- If fraudulent conveyances are alleged to have occurred.
- To resolve claims of adverse possession.
When a quiet title action is filed successfully, they typically result in a court order that establishes exactly which parties have a valid ownership interest in the property in question. If you are involved in a conflict over ownership of a property or who has a legitimate claim to it, a quiet title action may be appropriate.
The Process of a Quiet Title Action
Quiet title actions must be filed in local Superior Court where the real property, or any part of it, is located. To begin the lawsuit, the plaintiff (usually the lender or homeowner) files a complaint with the court followed by a Notice of Pendency of Action (Lis Pendens), meaning “notice of pending action,” that is recorded with the county recorder and filed with the court. The complaint must be verified and the complaint must cover several requirements:
- A description of the property subject of the quiet title action
- The plaintiff must name as defendants all persons known or unknown claiming an interest in the property
- The title of the plaintiff as to which a determination of quiet title is sought. If the complaint is based on adverse possession, the complaint must allege the specific facts constituting the adverse possession
- The adverse claims to the plaintiff’s title
- Whether the title is being determined as of the date of the complaint or another date
- A prayer for the determination of the plaintiff’s title against adverse claims
In response to the complaint, the defendant files an answer, which also must include certain necessary information, such as:
- Defendant’s claim to the title
- Facts in dispute
- Statement of any new information creating a defense to the action
Once both sides have presented their information and claims, the court makes a resolution and issues a judgment that binds all of the parties involved. The title company must receive the judge’s order and all related documents in order to issue the title policy for the property.
When to Consult a Quiet Title Lawyer
The main objective of a quiet title action is to attain clear ownership of the property, and to settle any flaws found in a property title search. Filing an action for a quiet title is not always easy and straightforward. A skilled attorney who specializes in real estate examine your title, can review title search results and is able to assist in obtaining a title insurance policy. This will ensure that you are protected against possible clouds on title and will know exactly what needs to be done to clear any title defects. Because conflicts in property ownership may possibly lead to litigation, it is wise to consult a real estate attorney regarding your case.
Contact a Quiet Title Action Attorney in California Today
No one should be fighting a quiet title battle on their own. Our real estate litigation attorneys have vast experience in quiet title actions with cases throughout the State of California, including Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, Palm Springs, San Bernardino, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Redding, Oakland, and Long Beach. Call the experienced real estate attorneys at Talkov Law at (844) 4-TALKOV (825568) or contact us online for a free consultation about your case!
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