Multiple people can claim to own the same piece of California real estate. When this situation arises, it’s necessary to settle the dispute. If you’re in such a situation and want to establish property ownership, you can consider filing a quiet title lawsuit.
Quiet title lawsuit explained
A quiet title lawsuit (or quiet title action) is used in real estate litigation as a legal way to decide who rightfully owns a piece of property. You need a clean title to sell or transfer a piece of property. A clean title specifies who owns the property and details the owner’s rights concerning the property.
When someone else also claims rights to the property, that means the title isn’t clean. A quiet title lawsuit allows you to get a clean title and settle the dispute about who owns the property. Some benefits of having a clean title include the right to claim ownership and the right to sell the property or transfer it to someone else.
How to file a quiet title lawsuit
The most important step is to get a copy of the deed. The deed must list you as the owner of the property. You might already have a copy of the deed. In California, if you need a copy, you can request it from the country recorder’s office where the property is located.
You’ll also need proof that you’re currently the property owner. Just because your name is on the deed doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the current owner. You can verify your ownership by contacting the title company that handled the transaction. If the title company is no longer in business, check with your county recorder’s office for assistance.
The final step is to file a lawsuit to quiet the title and claim ownership. The court must notify anyone else who claims ownership of the property. If you fail to provide this information, the lawsuit isn’t legally binding.
You might or might not get the property
A judge will listen to your argument and anyone else who claims ownership of the property. If the judge sides with you, you’ll get the rights to the property. However, the judge may side with someone else and transfer ownership to them.
You can improve your chances of winning the lawsuit by providing all the necessary information. You might also win by default if no one responds to the court order.