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Key Considerations For Pursuing Quiet Title Actions

by Due South Realty 05/31/2020

Photo by Curtis Adams from Pexels

A variety of complications can come into play for today's property owners. Many of these issues involve title — property rights conferring legal ownership. While title is often straightforward, it may prove difficult to establish in select circumstances. In such situations, a quiet title action may be the most effective solution available.

What Are Quiet Title Actions?

It is critical that homeowners be fully aware of their status as titleholders. In most cases, title is obtained through sole or shared ownership, although it can also sometimes be granted through trusts. Regardless of how it is obtained, title should ideally be clean and clear — completely free of liens, levies or any concerns that might call legal ownership into question.

In select cases, title may be secured via a civil process known as a quiet title action. This procedure is often initiated by the property owner. The goal? To officially establish a party's title to personal or real property in hopes of 'quieting' or essentially ending any challenges to the title in question. 

Quiet title actions occur under a variety of circumstances. Many take place in the midst of disputes with mortgage lenders. Others may be prompted by cases of adverse possession, in which neighbors or even trespassers attempt to gain claim to property that they do not currently own. State regulations vary regarding who is allowed to pursue quiet title actions and how the process takes place. 

Key Considerations For Pursuing Quiet Title Actions

The primary downside of quiet title actions is that they cannot always be relied upon to clear up all claim issues. Also, while quiet title actions may sometimes seem like a non-adversarial approach, they can quickly escalate disputes that might have otherwise been downplayed via alternative legal solutions. For this reason, they must be undertaken only when property owners and their legal counsel determine that other options will prove ineffective for clearing up title conflicts. 

Those who choose to move forward with quiet title actions should closely examine the circumstances surrounding current disputes to determine how this approach can ultimately lead to clean and clear title. Likewise, regional differences should be analyzed, as the process can look dramatically different from one state to the next. Patience is critical; as with any legal action involving property, this process can prove time-consuming. 

When title is called into question, it is critical that property owners respond in a proactive manner. Depending on the situation, this could mean pursuing a quiet title action. Weigh the risks and benefits carefully to determine whether this is the appropriate course of action. Depending on the situation, this approach could prove valuable both for legal purposes and for providing personal peace of mind.