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What is an action to quiet title?

Individuals who have an ownership claim to a piece of property in Pennsylvania may have questions about the title to the property and what the implications of having a clear title to a piece of property are. The title to a piece of property is important because it demonstrates who has legal ownership of a piece of property and the right to use the property.

It is possible to have special concerns associated with the title to a piece of property which are sometimes referred to as "clouds" on the title. In some circumstances, there may be disputes concerning the ownership of the property, especially in circumstances when the land has been passed down through generations or may have been originally acquired through adverse possession. Liens may also be present on the property which must be satisfied before the property can be sold. Additionally, covenants, or agreements between a prior owner and another party, may also be recorded and may impact the title.

When circumstances arise related to a dispute concerning the title to a piece of property, legal options may be available to help resolve the title dispute. In general, an action to quiet title refers to a legal process which determines ownership of the property in question. Actions to quiet title may be filed by a party that has a claim of ownership concerning the piece of property. An action to quiet title essentially asks the court to resolve ownership of the property. Prevailing during a quiet title action allows the owner of the piece of property to rest easy that future challenges to ownership will not be made.

It is important to have clear title to a piece of property that is being purchased or sold. Sometimes ensuring clear title exists may require legal intervention which is why it is important to keep in mind that ensuring there are no clouds on the title of a piece of property can be an important step in the real estate process.

Source: Cornel University Law School Legal Information Institute, "Quiet title action," accessed on Jan. 28, 2015

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