Quiet title

Quiet title

An action to quiet title is a lawsuit brought in a court having jurisdiction over land disputes, in order to establish a party's title to real property against anyone and everyone, and thus "quiet" any challenges or claims to the title.

This legal action is "brought to remove a cloud on the title so that plaintiff and those in privity with her may forever be free of claims against the property. [Ballentine's Law Dictionary, p. 452.]

This lawsuit is also sometimes called a Try title, trepass to try title, or Ejectment action "to recover possession of land wrongfully occupied by a defendant." [ [http://www.answers.com/topic/trespass-to-try-title?cat=biz-fin Answers.com] ] However, there are slight differences. In an ejectment action, it is typically done to remove a tenant or lessee in an eviction action, or an eviction after a foreclosure. Fact|date=August 2007 Nonetheless, in some states, all terms are used synonymously.

Grounds for a quiet title action or complaint

It comprises a complaint that the ownership (title) of a parcel of land or other real property is defective in some fashion, typically where title to the property is ambiguousndash for example, where it has been conveyed by a quitclaim deed through which the previous owner disclaims all interest, but does not promise that good title is conveyed. Such an action may also be brought to dispel a restraint on alienation or another party's claim of a nonpossessory interest in land, such as an easement by prescription.

Other typical grounds for complaint include:
*adverse possession where the new possessor sues to obtain title in his or her own name;
*fraudulent conveyance of a property, perhaps by a forged deed or under coercion;
*Torrens title registration, an action which terminates all unrecorded claims;
*treaty disputes regarding the boundaries between nations;
*tax taking issues, where a municipality claims title in lieu of back taxes owed (or a subsequent purchaser of land at a tax sale files action to gain insurable title);
*boundary disputes between states, municipalities, or private parties;
*surveying errors
* competing claims by reverters, remainders, missing heirs and lien holders (often arising in basic foreclosure actions when satisfied liens are not properly discharged from title due to clerical or recording errors between the county clerk and the satisfied lien holder)


Unlike acquisition through a deed of sale, a quiet title action will give the party seeking such relief no cause of action against previous owners of the property, unless the plaintiff in the quiet title action acquired its interest through a warranty deed and had to bring the action to settle defects that existed when the warranty deed was delivered.

One has to be careful about talking about quiet title actions in the context of registration systems. Quiet title actions really have no applicability where a registration system is in place, having been wholly replaced by the registration statutes. Quiet title actions derive in common law jurisdictions from a common law equitable cause of action by the same name. In many jurisdictions they have been supplemented or replaced by a statutory cause of action, which may or may not have the same legal elements of the common law action. Where dealing with statutory quiet title it is more appropriate to talk about "actions in the nature of quiet title".

Quiet title actions do not “clear title” "completely". They are actions for the purpose of clearing a "particular, known" claim, title defect, or perceived defect. Contrast title registration which settles all title issues, both known and unknown. Quiet title actions are always subject to attack and are particularly vulnerable to jurisdictional challenges, both subject matter and personal, even years after final court decree in the action. It usually takes 3-6 months depending on the state where it is done.

A quiet title action is also subject in many a Geographic Jurisdiction, to a Statute of Limitations. This "limitations of action" is often 10 or 20 years. Fact|date=May 2007

Quiet title in popular culture

In the novel "Red Sky at Morning", Richard Bradford discusses how the family's real estate had "histories of counterclaims, suits to "quiet title" which never seems to work, liens.... A good lawyer who paced himself could make a land sale last for ten years and send his kids to Princeton on the fees." [Richard Bradford, "Red Sky at Morning", p. 172, available online at [http://www.amazon.com/dp/0060931906 Red Sky at Morning on Amazon] ]


ee also

* Ejectment
* Title (property)
* Fee simple

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • quiet title — v. To determine title to land in court by bringing all interested parties into court and allowing them to attempt to establish their claims; this court proceeding is called an action to quiet title. The Essential Law Dictionary. Sphinx Publishing …   Law dictionary

  • Quiet Title — A lawsuit filed to establish ownership of real estate when ownership is in question. Real estate owners want to ensure that they have a clear title, meaning that there are no liens or levies against the title and no disputes over the property s… …   Investment dictionary

  • quiet title action — A lawsuit to determine who owns a piece of real estate and so quiet any disputes over the title. Such a suit arises when there is some question about title for example, uncertainty about the boundary, claims by a lienholder, a question about an… …   Law dictionary

  • Quiet Title Action — A circuit court action (lawsuit) intended to establish or settle the title to a property, especially when there is a disagreement on the title. It is a lawsuit brought to remove a claim or objection on a title. A quiet title action occurs when… …   Investment dictionary

  • quiet title action — A proceeding to establish the plaintiffs title to land by bringing into court an adverse claimant and there compelling him either to establish his claim or be forever after estopped from asserting it. See also action to quiet title cloud on title …   Black's law dictionary

  • action to quiet title — One in which plaintiff asserts his own estate and declares generally that defendant claims some estate in the land, without defining it, and avers that the claim is without foundation, and calls on defendant to set forth the nature of his claim,… …   Black's law dictionary

  • action to quiet title — One in which plaintiff asserts his own estate and declares generally that defendant claims some estate in the land, without defining it, and avers that the claim is without foundation, and calls on defendant to set forth the nature of his claim,… …   Black's law dictionary

  • action to quiet title — See quieting title …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • suit to quiet title — See quieting title …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • title — A mark, style, or designation; a distinctive appellation; the name by which anything is known. Thus, in the law of persons, a title is an appellation of dignity or distinction, a name denoting the social rank of the person bearing it; as duke or… …   Black's law dictionary

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