Purchasing real estate can become complicated when a clouded title or fraudulent lien shows up. When title issues come up in a real estate transaction, an experienced Los Angeles quiet title attorney can help. At Stone & Sallus, we serve individuals, businesses, brokers, developers, and other real estate professionals through challenging real estate transactions and offer legal representation in quiet title actions.
Understanding What the Quiet Title Attorney Does
A quiet title attorney resolves issues where ownership is in question because of an encumbrance on a property, or when someone has the title to a property that belongs to you.
A quiet title action (also known as action of quiet title) is a lawsuit filed often by quiet title attorneys to establish or find resolution of title to real property. The name stems from the pursuit of “quieting” a claim or objection to a title.
Whether it is a building or a plot of land, an action to quiet title will indicate, in law, exactly to whom a property belongs. This legal mechanism was set up in order to provide individuals with a clear title when more than one claim for the property’s ownership could be highly possible. The term “quiet title” is in reference to how the case seeks to establish the genuine owner and “quiet” the other claims. As an added bonus, any additional claims to the title can be put to rest, especially in the cases where there have been many unclear property transfers in the past.
Our team of professional and experienced quiet title attorneys at Stone & Sallus provide legal action to clarify ownership of a property and fight for your title.
When Quiet Title Attorneys Are Most Commonly Needed
Quiet title attorneys in California are most often sought-after subsequent to the death of title owners, when properties are unoccupied for an extended period of time, mortgage lender disputes, and instances of adverse possession. Our attorneys handle these cases along with removal of old or fraudulent liens, tax deeds or obligations, boundary disputes, licenses for land use, rental property accounting disputes, documentation of contract terms, set-offs, and other complex title cases.
Quiet Title Attorney Fees in California
Attorney fees for a quiet title action will depend on whether the action is uncontested or litigated. During your consultation with Stone & Sallus, we will review your case to estimate potential attorney fees.
What is a Clouded Title?
You may have come across the term “clouded title” at some point in the past. When a cloud is on a title, this means that there may be some form of encumbrance such as a document, claim, unreleased lien, or something else that could lead to a title to a property becoming impaired, invalidated, or simply doubtful.
Clouded titles will usually reveal themselves following a title search and can be resolved after a quitclaim deed has been initiated. The title search, however, will usually be required by a lender in order to protect themselves from any potential third-party claims or clouded titles to property that’s being used as collateral. When originating a mortgage, title searches and title insurance will be required.
Clouded Title Example
Quite often there’ll be some form of unresolved issue on a property which will result in a cloud on that title. If a mortgager were to initiate foreclosure proceedings as a response to a borrower defaulting on their payment, then the borrower may be precluded from selling off their property while that foreclosure is undergoing.
In other cases of clouded titles, property owners may find that their property had a mechanic’s lien placed on it some time in the past due to an issue that arose with regards to payment for the construction or contracted redevelopment work. Until any and all costs regarding material or labor have been resolved, the mechanic’s lien will stay in place. This will stay with the property itself rather than the property owner, so whoever is purchasing the property will be responsible for resolving any issues.
Sometimes a probate issue may arise resulting from matters such as inheritance which can cause a title to become clouded. If documents such as death certificates become lost over time, it could lead to questions being raised regarding legal ownership when it comes to older properties. If who was to gain control of an estate was not defined in a will after a property owner’s passing, then there could be a handful of heirs each challenging one another for the title to the property.
How to Remove a Cloud on a Title Using a Quiet Title Attorney
If you’ve recently found imperfections in your property’s chain of title where a previous owner of the property is still listed, you’ve got a cloud on your title. There are a few steps both you and your quiet title attorney must take in order to get a clear title.
- Search the title records: You’ll want to retain either a title attorney or a title company and have them delve into the property in question’s title records. They will be able to produce for you a title commitment or a title report.
- Review the title commitment or title report: You’ll be able to identify any clouds that may be on the title by giving the title commitment or title report a careful going over. A title cloud may reveal itself in the form of an additional owner or as a note or exclusion or exception to the title policy. Talk to one of our highly professional and experienced Los Angeles quiet title attorney team members today for help understanding and interpreting the report.
- Execute a Quitclaim deed: You’ll next want to identify any private parties with no rights to the property that are still showing on the title and get them to execute a quitclaim deed. This will remove them completely from the chain of title.
- Have any liens taken care of: If there are any debts still standing on the property then have them removed by paying them and having the party that placed them remove them. If the debts have already been paid, or if the lienholder won’t remove them after you’ve made the payment, then the court will have to be petitioned in order for the lien to be released.
- File a quiet title action: If you’re finding that some issues can’t be resolved amicably with the parties on the title, the next step is to file a quiet title action. This will not only help prove that you hold the right to the title to the property, but you can also get the court to remove any remaining clouds.
Proof Requirements for Clouded Title
Once you’ve filed a quiet title action complaint, everything must be verified. You’ll need to provide the following pieces of information in order for your quiet title action complaint to be effectively validated as quickly and smoothly as possible.
- The piece of property or subject in question must be adequately described clearly and concisely, with legal descriptions and the property’s full address and any other common designation it may have in association with it.
- The quiet title action complaint is required to indicate the main plaintiff and their title. If it so happens that the complaint is an ‘adverse possession’ complaint, then this must point to any and all specific facts that have led the complaint to becoming an adverse possession complaint.
- It will also be required that the quiet title action complaint indicates any and all adverse claims to the title of the plaintiff. It should also be clearly stipulated that the plea is seeking to determine the title’s owner, along with any adverse claims.
In terms of expected duration, the entire clouded title case should take no more than around 8 to 10 weeks to complete on average. External factors such as court rulings regarding certain specific legal matters may extend the dispute, and to fully understand what the contributing factors on such rulings can be, get in contact with our professional and experienced team of quiet title attorneys at Stone & Sallus today.
Why Turn to Our Quiet Title Attorneys in California?
Do you need some assistance from a quiet title attorney in Los Angeles, California? Then don’t hesitate to call us here at Stone & Sallus today. We strive to be your first choice when it comes to all areas of real estate law with dozens of industry awards.
Get in touch with our law firm today. Call 310.889.0233 to speak to a knowledgeable quiet title attorney in a consultation to review your case.