Articles Tagged with property ownership

Underwood-Blog-Images-1-2-300x300A motion to determine title is a motion to the court requesting that the court establish title to a piece of real property. Typically, a motion to determine title shows up in the court as a quiet title action. A quiet title action is brought when a litigant seeks to establish that they have an ownership interest in the subject property and refute any adverse claims against the litigant. It follows that to prevail on a motion to determine title; one must show that they hold some ownership interest in the subject property. 

The law surrounding a motion to determine title is codified in Code of Civil Procedure section 760.030. Under section 760.030, when establishing or quieting title is in issue in an action or proceeding, the court may, upon motion of any party, require that the issue be resolved pursuant to the provisions of the code of civil procedure relating to quiet title actions. (CCP § 760.030.) At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are more than familiar with partition actions and the step-by-step process of pursuing a partition. 

What is a Quiet Title Action

Underwood-Blog-Images-2-300x300When there are two or more owners of a piece of real property who are unable to come to an agreement on how to divide the property, any co-owner of the subject property may petition the court to partition the property. This is known as a partition action. Generally, the decision of a court to partition the property is merely the first step in the partition process. Although a partition action may sound quite simple, it is a complex process that requires extensive accounting and patience.   

What is a Partition Action?

A partition action is an action brought by a co-owner of a piece of real property against another co-owner, seeking to divide the property according to the respective interests of the co-owners. In order to establish a right to a partition, a party must show that they have some ownership interest in the subject property. Under Code of Civil Procedure section 872.210, any owner of an estate of inheritance, an estate for life, or an estate for years in real property where such property or estate is owned by several persons concurrently or in successive estates may bring a partition action. (CCP § 872.210.) Therefore, a co-tenant has an absolute right to partition. (Formosa Corp. v. Rogers (1951), 108 Cal.App.2d 397.) At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are more than familiar with partition actions and the step-by-step process of pursuing a partition. 

Underwood-Blog-Images-300x300Slander of title is quite the unique cause of action. As the name implies, it involves defamatory or slanderous activity but not against any person or personal interest. Instead, a slander of title involves activity that calls the state of your title into doubt (by, for example, filing an unwarranted lis pendens) that diminishes the value of your property. 

In these situations, parties have the ability to sue for slander of title. The suit is usually accompanied by an action to clear a cloud on the title or to quiet the title, but the gist of it is quite simple: compensation for the injurious activity to the state of one’s title. 

What’s Required for a Slander of Title Claim? 

Underwood-Blog-Images-1-300x300In most cases, no. Instead, the statute of limitations most frequently bars a partition action when a party’s rights to the property have lapsed due to an ouster. 

What is a Partition Action?

A partition action is an action brought by a co-owner of a piece of real property against another co-owner, seeking to divide the property according to the respective interests of the co-owners. Typically, a property is partitioned in one of two ways. A partition by sale, where the subject property is sold, and the proceeds of the sale are split according to the respective interests of the titleholders. A physical partition physically divides the subject property into separate parcels in accordance with the respective interests. 

Underwood-Blog-Images-5-300x300Ejectment is an action brought by a party seeking to recover a possessory interest or claim of title in a piece of real property. Typically, an ejectment action arises when a titleholder to a piece of property has been wrongfully excluded or withheld from the property. Therefore, ejectment applies only to those cases where an individual actually has possessory title to the subject property.

Ejectment is a possessory action used to recover possession of land or a piece of real property to a plaintiff in possession who has been wrongfully ousted from the property by the defendant. (Fuller v. Fuller (1917) 176 Cal. 637, 638, 169 P. 369].) In simpler terms, ejectment allows a party to retake possession of real property that the party was wrongfully removed from.

A claim of ejectment is a common issue in disputes over the real property where the parties are seeking to establish who holds title to or an interest in the subject property. Specifically, under Code of Civil Procedure section 3375, an individual who is entitled to specific real property may recover by a judgment for its possession or an order requiring a defendant to deliver possession of the property. (CCP § 3375.) At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are more than familiar with ejectment actions and the requirements needed to prevail on an ejectment claim. 

Underwood-Blog-Images-1-2-300x300A partition by appraisal is an alternative method of partition that occurs when the parties to a partition action agree to have the subject property partitioned by appraisal. With the Partition of Real Property Act taking effect in 2023, almost every partition action moving forward will involve a Partition by Appraisal. As such, the rules for a partition by appraisal will be important to know for everyone involved in such an action.

Once a partition by appraisal commences, the parties must then go through the appraisal process with an independent appraiser. An independent appraiser appraises the subject property, and the judgment of the appraiser determines the value that should be paid to buy out the interest of the selling co-owner. At the Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are more than familiar with partition actions and the requirements needed to pursue a partition by appraisal. 

What is a Partition Action?

Underwood-Blog-Images-4-300x300“Joint tenancy” is a phrase that most people associate with the co-ownership of a property. And indeed, this is correct. Joint tenancy is a form of co-ownership in California, second only to tenancies-in-common in terms of popularity. But just because the words “joint tenancy” are used in a deed or other property-related document does not mean one actually exists. 

For a joint tenancy to be “true” means its effects fully apply. At a minimum, ownership percentages between the owners need to be equal, and the right of survivorship has to be present between the parties. What’s more, is that if any of the statutory or legal requirements associated with its creation are missing, then the joint tenancy does not exist, and it cannot be “true.” 

At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are well-versed in co-tenancy and the various forms it can take, including joint tenancy. The rights and duties that follow each of these ownership schemes are unique, making them a key issue in real estate litigation. 

Underwood-Blog-Images-1-1-300x300In California, in many partition actions, the court may enter an interlocutory judgment of partition, whereby there is an entry of judgment for partition. As opposed to a final judgment, an interlocutory judgment is a temporary judgment that is issued during the litigation of a case rather than after trial.

In general, interlocutory judgments are judgments entered before a trial comes to an end. “An interlocutory judgment or order is a provisional determination of some or all issues in the cause.” (7 Witkin, Cal. Procedure, supra, Judgement, § 12, p. 548.) Witkin identifies three different types of interlocutory judgments that exist.

The motion for an interlocutory judgment is a common issue in partition actions. Specifically, under Code of Civil Procedure section 872.720, the court must enter an interlocutory judgment when the court finds that the Plaintiff in a partition action is entitled to a partition. At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are more than familiar with the interlocutory judgment and requirements needed to get an interlocutory judgment. 

Underwood-Blog-Images-3-300x300Even when a party finally secures a judgment of partition, the property itself must still be sold (or partitioned in another way). This raises a brand-new set of issues for litigants as they attempt to figure out the terms of sale, when the property should be sold, and, most importantly, the asking price.

But sometimes, one of the buyers is a party to the litigation itself. While the law allows for this, it would be counterintuitive to force that party to submit a bid for the full price of the house when they already have equity in it. The law’s solution to this is the full credit bid.

Full credit bids allow parties to “credit” their bid for the property with the value of their equity already in place. This reduces the amount of cash they actually need to bid for the property. That said, it isn’t always an option, and sometimes it can wind up being a disadvantage for the party attempting to utilize it.

Underwood-Blog-Images-1-300x300In most breach of contract actions, the court must find that a valid contract has been created. There are several requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to have an enforceable contract. In certain circumstances, evidence of the existence of a contract in writing is required for the contract to be valid.

In general, contracts are not required to be in writing; oral contracts are enforceable. However, under the Code of Civil Procedure section 1624, certain contracts are required to be in writing. Code of Civil Procedure section 1624 is also known as the Statute of Frauds, and it renders certain contracts invalid if there is no writing to evidence the terms of the contract.

Code of Civil Procedure section 1624 sets forth a list of different categories of contracts that, per the Statute of Frauds, are required to be in writing. Specifically, there are seven types of contracts defined by section 1624 that a party to a breach of contract lawsuit should be aware of. At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are more than familiar with the Statute of Frauds and the writing requirements for a contract.   

Contact Information