Most people have never heard of a quiet title action — because most people never need to know about them.
It can come as a shock, then, to find out that you have a problem with your deed that makes it impossible to refinance, sell or obtain insurance for your new property.
What is a quiet title action?
This is a lawsuit that you file that asks a judge to make a ruling about the true ownership of a piece of property. That “quiets” any disputes over the title.
Quiet title actions often come into play in the following situations:
- Property that was inherited and has old errors on the face of the deed (like a mistake in someone’s name)
- Property that was acquired through foreclosure sales, estate sales, sheriff sales and tax sales that may have unknown lien holders or people out there who somehow have a potential interest in the property
- Property where the deed was incorrectly recorded due to mistakes in boundary lines, survey inaccuracies or old easements that have long expired
Even if your quiet title action is unopposed, it can unfortunately still be a lengthy and frustrating process.
Are there other options?
A quiet title action may be your best course of action, but don’t hesitate to ask about alternatives. Some possibilities include:
- The use of a quitclaim deed when the other party is willing to relinquish their ownership interests without a fight
- The use of any warranties granted by the property’s deed, which can give you actionable rights against the seller
- Pursuing a claim against your title company if they failed to catch a problem with the deed they should have spotted
- Negotiating an agreement with any other party to settle the dispute without going to court
When you’re facing a complicated situation with your real estate, don’t try to sort the problem out on your own. An attorney here in Philadelphia can help you explore all your available options for a speedy resolution.