Quiet Title is a legal process used to clear up any issues with title to real property. In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about Quiet Title actions in Texas, including how it works and when it may be necessary.
What is Quiet Title and why is it important?
If you’re a property owner dealing with title defects, you may have heard of the term “Quiet Title.” This legal process is used to clear up any issues or “clouds” on your title.
Often times, a title company or one of the parties to a real estate transaction will discover title defects or “clouds” on title. A “cloud” on title results from an outstanding claim or encumbrance on a property which impairs the owner’s title.
Quiet Title is a legal process used to establish clear and undisputed ownership of a property. It is important because it can help resolve disputes over property ownership, which can arise due to a variety of reasons such as unclear title history, conflicting claims, or errors in public records. By obtaining a Quiet Title, property owners can ensure that their ownership rights are protected and that they have a clear title to their property.
When is a Quiet Title action necessary?
Quiet Title is necessary when there are disputes or issues with title to real property. This can occur when there are conflicting claims to the property, unclear title history, errors in public records, or other issues that create uncertainty about who owns or has a claim to the property. By obtaining a Judgment Quieting Title, property owners can establish clear and undisputed ownership of their property, which can help prevent future disputes and legal issues. Furthermore, a title company will offer a title insurance policy after receiving a Judgment Quieting Title. It is important to consult with a qualified attorney to determine if a Quiet Title action is necessary in your specific situation.
How to start the process of Quieting Title.
Starting the Quiet Title process can be complex and requires the assistance of a qualified attorney. The first step is to conduct a title search to identify any potential issues with the property’s ownership. This may involve reviewing title commitments, public records, deeds, and other legal documents. Once any issues are identified, the attorney will file a Quiet Title action with the court. This involves serving all parties with an interest in the property and giving them an opportunity to contest the Quiet Title action. If no objections or valid defenses are raised, the court will issue a Judgment Quieting Title, which establishes clear and undisputed ownership of the property.
Quiet Title vs. Adverse Possession: What’s the Difference?
If you’re dealing with a property dispute, you may have heard the terms “quiet title” and “adverse possession” thrown around. While they may seem similar, they actually refer to two distinct legal concepts. Quiet title is a legal action taken to establish ownership of a property and remove any competing claims or liens. It is typically used when there are clouds on the title, such as unpaid taxes or unresolved liens. Adverse possession, on the other hand, is a title ownership dispute that allows someone to gain ownership of a property by occupying it for a certain period of time without the owner’s permission. This is typically used when there is no clear owner of a property or when the owner has abandoned it. A Trespass to Try Title action is the method of determining title to lands, tenements, or other real property. Texas Property Code § 22.001.
How to win a Quiet Title action?
There are three elements to prove in an action seeking to quiet title. The plaintiff must plead and prove, (1) an ownership interest in the property, (2) a claim or encumbrance affecting the title to the property is being asserted, (3) and that the claim or encumbrance is invalid or unenforceable. Heredia v. Zimprich, 559 S.W.3d 223, 229 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2018); Ferrara v. Nutt, 555 S.W.3d 227, 239 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2018). The gravity of the adverse claim alleged must be severe enough to negatively impact the landowner’s ability to enjoy full benefit of the property. Katz v. Rodriguez, 563 S.W.2d 627, 629 (Tex. Civ. App.—Corpus Christi 1977, writ ref’ d n.r.e.). This can often be proved by a title company’s refusal to issue a title policy due to the title defects.
A plaintiff must base his or her action on strength of his or her own title. Glenn v. Lucas, 376 S.W.3d 268, 273 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 2012, no pet.); Katz v. Rodriguez, 563 S.W.2d 627, 631 (Tex. Civ. App.—Corpus Christi 1977, writ ref’ d n.r.e.). However, a plaintiff in a Quiet Title action is not required to prove superior right to property by tracing the title to sovereignty, as is the case in a Trespass to Try Title lawsuit. Glenn, 376 S.W.3d 268, 273; Katz, 563 S.W.2d 627, 631. The defendants must prove that their claim is valid or enforceable. If the defendant fails to do so, the plaintiff successfully quiets the title to the land.
Without a clean title, you cannot sell or finance your property for its fair market value. Title issues often go unnoticed until a sale or financing. Title issues, as well as the methods for curing the title defects, are technical and complex. However, our seasoned real estate litigators are well versed in solving title issues. We can resolve your title issues, while you stay focused on what matters most.
Texas Quiet Title Attorney
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