Actions to quiet title are lawsuits to establish the legal ownership of land when that ownership may be in question. Most of the time, these actions are taken after an individual purchase a parcel of land at a tax sale, and marketable title must be established to be able to sell the (often steeply discounted) land. Other common examples of when a quite title action is needed is if there is an undisclosed heir (i.e. cousin Tommy appears out of nowhere with an unrecorded Will stating that Uncle Harold gave him the property in 1997 before he died and you sold it to the new owner) or a fraudulent act occurs unbeknownst to the legitimate title holder (i.e. Fred Forger forges a deed into himself and then sells the property to you, a bona fide purchaser with no knowledge of the criminal activity).
Purchasers who find themselves in these situations are often protected by the purchase of a title insurance policy that with indemnify them for any losses that may result. But if you are the victim, or the individual who needs to quiet the title, these lawsuits can be quite tricky and difficult to navigate.
First you need to have a title examination performed to find any and all individuals in the chain of title so that all potential people who are required to have notice of the claim are in fact legally notified that the action is pending. A Lis Pendens should be filed so that the title does not convey any further without the new purchaser taking the property subject to the legal notice of the action. Also, sufficient evidence of the claim must be found and developed to be presented at trial.
It is best to have this done under the guidance and supervision of an experienced real estate attorney. If you are facing a potential quiet title action, please feel free to contact our office for advice and guidance.
The law office of Dennis J. DiSabato Jr has extensive experience with real estate issues such as a quiet title. Call us today if you have any concerns about property you are getting ready to purchase.
The Law Office of Dennis J. DiSabato, Jr., LLC
3888 Renee Drive, Suite 201
Myrtle Beach, SC 29579