For most people, property is the largest investment they will ever make. Their retirement, their children’s inheritance, and their general well-being are often staked in the value of that property.
Discovering that someone else claims title to your property is a cause for concern, for the above reasons. However, before you panic, title disputes can often be quickly resolved with a nifty legal device known as a quiet title action.
What is a quiet title action?
A quiet title action is essentially a lawsuit that seeks to establish sole title in the plaintiff. It’s not that different than a lawsuit seeking declaratory relief, in that it wants the court to confirm its right to something (in this case, the property).
Filing a quiet title action is fairly straightforward, as they usually only consist of a few forms and evidentiary exhibits. Most go uncontested, with the court granting title to the plaintiff by default.
When are quiet title actions useful?
Quiet title actions are useful to resolve any matter that leaves a cloud on a property’s title. They are commonly used to resolve title issues related to adverse possession, boundary disputes, conveyance of property via quit claim deed, and the purchase of property through tax deed sale.
When can quiet title actions not be used?
Quiet title actions cannot be used to resolve issues related to the property itself. For example, if a buyer realizes his new house has a compromised foundation, he cannot bring a quiet title action against the seller.
Although they seem simple, quiet title actions are in fact complex legal instruments that should only be drafted with the help of an experienced real estate lawyer.
A lawyer can evaluate your situation in light of the law and craft the action to maximize the likelihood of success.
Los Angeles residents shouldn’t hesitate to reach out. If cost is a concern, many lawyers offer a free initial consultation at no out-of-pocket cost to the client.