What Does Quiet Title Action Encompass?
Quiet title action involves resolving any adverse claims to a property with the ultimate, not always attained, objective of insurable marketable ownership. A party need not await until a claim is brought to defend it; such party could voluntarily initiate a Quiet Title Action. In addition, a Quiet Title Action could be used defensively. Let us further educate ourselves on this important real estate topic.
SOME BASICS OF QUIET TITLE ACTION
In California, a quiet title action could be instituted under Code of Civil Procedure Sections 760.010-765.060. Quiet Title Actions are brought when two or more parties claim possession over the same piece of land. Quiet Title Action might be required when mere declaration of ownership would not render a title marketable or insurable.
Title Action COULD be used in two different circumstances:
1. When Plaintiff Seeks To Prove Ownership of Property
2. When Plaintiff Seeks to Prove Defendant’s Legal Ownership of a Property is Wrongful and Such Property Must Be Transferred to Plaintiff
The plaintiff of such action could name both named and unnamed defendants. In case of unnamed defendants, service might have to be effectuated via publication through Court Order. For publication, a notice should be posted on the property and a lis pendence to be recorded, too.
The value of lis pendens cannot be overstated in quiet title actions. Statutorily, upon filing of a Quiet Title Action action, plaintiff MUST record a lis pendens. The lis pendens prevents a claimant from becoming a bona fide purchaser or encumbrancer who subsequently acquires title after recording of the lis pendens.
QUIET TITLE ACTION: LEGAL OR EQUITABLE RELIEF
Plaintiff for Quiet Title Action could seek legal, equitable or both legal/equitable relief. The selection could have rather consequential ramifications for the plaintiff. For instance, if the action is framed as legal, the plaintiff is entitled to jury trial. On the other hand, if the Quiet Title Action is framed as equitable, the defense could invoke equitable defenses and not entitled to jury trial.
Generally, when the plaintiff seeks both declaration of rights and recovery of possession the action is partially legal and partially equitable. In such a case, jury trial is a matter of right as to legal issues and not as to equitable issues.
This article neither supplants the sophistication nor specification for a particular case in a Quiet Title Action. In fact, Quiet Title Action is a rather esoteric real estate subject matter requiring expert analysis in every case. This article ONLY provides a rather rudimentary summary of such expansive subject matter.