Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Schedule a Consultation Today
Our Office Locations:
West Palm Beach
Lake Worth
Boca Raton
Boynton Beach
Home > Blog > Real Estate (Commercial And Residential) > How and Why Are Quiet Title Lawsuits Used?

How and Why Are Quiet Title Lawsuits Used?


When it comes to real estate, whether residential or commercial, you assume that if you buy property, you automatically own it. But it’s not that simple. There is a complex process to make sure you own the property you purchased. And when things go wrong, and there is a dispute over ownership, there could be a quiet title lawsuit.

You Bought It, But Do You Own It?

To own property legally, you need to demonstrate that the person who sold you the property, owned it and thus had the right to sell it to you. Which means you have to prove that whomever sold the property to your seller, owned it. Which means you have to show that whomever sold the property to that seller, actually owned it, and so on.

This is called chain of title—showing a clear, unbroken, and legal chain of ownership from seller to buyer, next seller to buyer, to the next seller to buyer, etc.

This proof is usually done through a title search when you buy property as part of the closing process, and is often proven through public records and other lien searches.

Problems With the Chain of Title

But sometimes, things go wrong.

If there is a break in the chain of title, someone before you who purchased and owned the property, may feel that they still have an ownership interest in the property. That may happen because of an error by the closing company, but it could also happen because of an error in the public records.

That can lead to a quiet title lawsuit.

What are Quiet Title Lawsuits?

Quiet title lawsuits are disputes between two people or entities, both of whom feel that they have a valid claim on the property.

Quiet title lawsuits can be disputed, contested litigation—such as when two people feel they have an equal claim on property—but they also can be lawsuits where the public records are unclear, or vague.

For example, imagine a mortgage taken out on the property 15 years before you bought it that, according to the public records, looks like it’s still outstanding, creating a lien on your newly bought property.

You may need to go to court to have something in the public records, declaring that the prior mortgage lien is no longer valid.

This is quite common—throughout time, property may have liens from judgments, mortgages, or taxes that have been taken out and satisfied. But not all of those appear in the public records. A quiet title lawsuit has the effect of saying that all of those prior liens are wiped out and invalid or otherwise satisfied, thus giving you free and clear ownership of the property.

Of course, any of those prior lienors who feel their lien still exists, can challenge your quiet title lawsuit, thus turning your quiet title suit into contested litigation.

Do you have a legal issue related to your purchase or ownership of property? Call the West Palm Beach real estate lawyers at The Law Offices of Larry E. Bray today for help with your real estate litigation.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

© 2020 - 2024 Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. All rights reserved.