Owning property comes with unexpected challenges. You may have recently bought a home for yourself, and you’re excited about settling in. But what happens if a neighbor tries to claim a part of your land as their own?
Filing a quiet title action might be your best option. A quiet title action is a type of lawsuit that establishes the valid title owner of the property during land disputes. When you file a quiet title action, you’re essentially able to “quiet” anyone who tries to challenge your ownership of your property.
Reasons to pursue a quiet title action
You may have grounds to consider filing a quiet title action if:
- You’re unsure about your property ownership. This might be the case if the original owner of the property passed away. A quiet title action would allow you to clear up any doubt that the property has rightfully transferred to you.
- The property’s boundaries are unclear. If you’re unsure about where the borders of your property lie, so might your neighbors. This can result in neighbors encroaching on your property or planting trees in a part of your property that they believe is theirs.
- The property has been used by someone else. If the property was previously vacant or neglected, someone else might have used it for themselves. This is known as adverse possession. In Pennsylvania, the property would have to be under that person’s use for 21 years to be eligible for the legal title.
- There is an easement on the property. Easements allow the easement holder access to use the property that they may not claim or own. For example, homes with shared driveways may have an easement that allows your neighbor to access your land.
- An heir is claiming ownership of the property. If you purchased the property through an estate sale, it might be useful to use a quiet title action to “quiet” any heirs trying to claim ownership.
The property you bought should be yours only. If you’re uncertain about your ownership or simply want to prevent any potential disputes, quiet title action is an ideal choice to verify true ownership.