Quiet Title Actions: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

Sometimes the only way you can resolve a claim against your real estate or fix a defect to its title is by going to court. In this lesson, you'll learn about quiet title actions and how they can be used to resolve claims and cure title defects.

Quiet Title Action Defined

A quiet title action is a lawsuit commenced by the owner of a parcel of real estate who brings all parties that may have an adverse claim or interest in the property to court as defendants. The defendants are required to establish the validity of their claim or interest or be prevented from asserting it ever again. You can think of a quiet title action as a court proceeding to ''quiet'' or resolve disputes regarding everyone's claims or interest in the real estate. Once the suit is finished, all disputes concerning title (i.e., right of ownership) to the real estate will be resolved as it concerns the defendants named in the lawsuit.

Clearing Clouds and Making Title Marketable

Quiet title actions are a common means of clearing title defects, often called clouds on title. A cloud on title is some claim or defect found in the public land records regarding the real estate that may impair or even prevent the property from being sold or mortgaged. If property is unable to be sold or mortgaged to a reasonably prudent person because of a title defect, we often say the title is unmarketable. Once the court renders its judgment in a quiet title action, the judgment can be recorded in the land records office in the county where the real estate is located. Title to the real estate will then be marketable, which means the owner's title will be sufficiently free from defects or questions so that the real estate can be sold or mortgaged.

Examples of Claims Resolved by Quiet Title Actions

Examples of typical claims that may be resolved through a quiet title action include:

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