Determining the rightful ownership of a house or land is the process of a quiet title action or court proceeding. To claim property ownership, you should seek legal advice in real estate law to file a lawsuit against other parties claiming legal rights. You must have a legitimate reason to believe you are the owner or have documents that support your claim. Understanding how the hearing works is necessary for all involved parties, known or unknown, in a legal dispute over real estate. Before filing quiet title lawsuits, there are four facts the defendants and plaintiffs should know about how the proceeding works.
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What is a Quiet Title Action?
Quiet title actions are legal proceedings to determine the ownership of real property such as land or a home. Claiming property ownership requires the defendant to file a quiet title lawsuit against other parties. The process takes time during the investigation process in determining if the title is defective.
1. Legitimate Grounds to File a Quiet Title Action
Anyone can file a quiet title lawsuit if they want to know or feel they have an ownership claim in any property, including a house or land. Other grounds may include:
- Forged property deed.
- Resolve disputes with a mortgage lender after paying off a loan.
- Disputes over the boundary between a party, state, or municipality.
- Treaty disputes between countries.
- Property tax settlement.
- Erroneous surveys.
- Non-occupancy of property for prolonged periods of time.
2. Investigating the Quiet Title Claim
Legal representation is significant to investigate the quiet title claim of ownership to a property. If you have possession of the title, a lawyer will determine whether or not it is defective or discover if there are other parties claiming ownership. In the best interest of the individual filing the quiet title lawsuit, a real estate attorney will perform a title search to find any defects before the hearing. Defendants need to know if there are any liens against the real estate or illegally sold properties to other buyers. After the investigation, your legal representative will inform you of known parties claiming ownership of the land or house.
3. Filing the Quiet Title Action
A lawyer will file the quiet title action for defendants or represent plaintiffs in legal lawsuits. After filing the quiet title lawsuit, the court will set a time and date for all parties to appear before a hearing to determine rightful ownership. If parties are no-shows, the judge will automatically rule in favor of the defendant.
4. Notify Known and Unknown Persons Claiming Property Ownership
All known parties will receive a notice of the quiet title proceedings. If there are unknown persons with claims to a property, your attorney will publish a court hearing notice in the local newspaper. The judge will consider their property claim and review proof of identity and supportive documents. Judges give a reasonable timeline for a response from possible claimants before the actual court date.
Issues can arise in the investigative process of quiet title actions, including errors in surveys, forged property titles, and liens. Legal advice is essential to ensure the property you are acquiring is clear of any defects. Seeking legal representation can save defendants time and money for settling real estate disputes.