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Resolving disputed ownership claims for real property

As we have noted before in this blog, land is a unique form of property where mere possession does not necessary indicate ownership. In a city as old as Philadelphia, a single parcel of land may have been sold, subdivided or had its boundaries modified on dozens of occasions. Determining ownership in such cases may be necessary to secure a loan, to obtain development approval from the City or resolve the status of property bequeathed in a will.

The basic method for resolving such disputes is called an action to quiet title. As the name implies, a quite title action usually requires commencement of a law suit. The law suit has nothing to do with ambient noise; rather, it is intended to "quiet" any and all claims to the property that conflict with the claim of the party trying to establish its ownership. A quiet title action does not deal only with questions of ownership. A quiet title action may also be necessary to eliminate invalid liens or easements that have lapsed due to the passage of time. A quiet title action can also eliminate claims that were never properly reduced to writing or recorded with the county.

As can be easily imagined, a quiet title action involves an examination of land records in the county where the property is located. Occasionally, birth records or tax records may be examined in the course of tracing ownership of the property. Pennsylvania law provides several methods of quieting title.

Initiating and pursuing a quiet title action requires a high degree of legal expertise. While quiet title actions are not typically complicated, they require a thorough knowledge of the necessary court procedures and the rules of Pennsylvania real estate law. The skilled lien release and real estate lawyers at Avallone Law Associates offers a commitment to professional, responsive and knowledgeable advice and representation in all kinds of quiet title actions.

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