Articles Tagged with quiet title

underwood-primer-after-acquired-title-doctrine-300x300When it comes to real estate transactions, ensuring a clean and clear title is essential. However, what happens if a property is sold without a perfect title, only for the seller to acquire the missing rights or interests later? This scenario is where the After Acquired Title Doctrine comes into play. In this blog, we’ll discuss what this doctrine entails, its implications for buyers and sellers, and how it impacts real estate transactions.

What is the “After Acquired Title Doctrine”?

The After Acquired Title Doctrine is a legal principle that addresses situations where a seller transfers property without having complete ownership or rights to the property at the time of sale. 

underwood-failed-deeds-contemplation-marriage-300x300It is an unfortunate fact that many marriages don’t make it out of the engagement stage. While this can be a difficult time for all involved, the situation can only become more dire when real property is involved.

Commonly, one owner of real property will add their partner to the house’s title shortly before the marriage occurs. Usually, they do this because they are under the impression that the marriage is about to happen. But when the partner calls the marriage off, the property owner is now faced with the problem of title. Under the law, the former partner is now an owner of the property.

In these instances, Civil Code section 1590 allows for the property owner to recover their title, although this will usually require filing a quiet title lawsuit. However, quiet title law can be difficult to understand, and in addition, litigants will need to take care not to blow the applicable statute of limitations. 

underwood-quiet-title-action-statute-limitations-300x300The Legislature has not established a specific statute of limitations for actions to quiet title. (Salazar v. Thomas (2015) 236 Cal.App.4th 467, 476.) Instead, the statute of limitations is based on the underlying theory of relief for the action. (Id.) For example, if the underlying theory is relief for trespass or injury to real property, then the applicable statute of limitations would be three years. (Code of Civil Procedure § 338.) 

Generally, for most legal claims, there is a time period called the statute of limitations where a plaintiff could sue under that claim. The statute of limitations provides for a certain amount of time, which varies depending on the claim, during which the party must bring forth the lawsuit. If a party sues after the statute of limitations has passed, then the legal claim is barred, and the lawsuit cannot proceed.

Statute of limitations are an essential aspect of litigation that parties must know. One point of contention for any statute of limitations is when the clock starts running for the statute of limitations. This can be difficult to figure out, especially for real property related claims. 

472023-1-300x300An action to quiet title allows a litigant to clear title or have the court establish title to a piece of real property where the title to that property is in the issue. Moreover, a quiet title action is not solely for the purpose of establishing a legal interest in real property but can also be asserted to establish an equitable interest in real property. For example, when two people claim that they own an entire piece of property, one of those parties may file a quiet title action to determine which one of the two persons actually holds title to the property. 

Sometimes, however, the other party will refuse to participate in the lawsuit, which requires a party to win by “default.” In those circumstances, a question arises about what is necessary to do to succeed. The law explicitly addresses these circumstances. 

Specifically, Code of Civil Procedure section 764.010 provides: “The court shall examine into and determine the plaintiff’s title against the claims of all the defendants. The court shall not enter judgment by default but shall, in all cases, require evidence of the plaintiff’s title and hear such evidence as may be offered to respect the claims of any of the defendants, other than claims the validity of which is admitted by the plaintiff in the complaint. The court shall render judgment in accordance with the evidence and the law.” 

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-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-2-1-300x300Service of process is a crucially important part of every lawsuit in California. If a defendant is not served and thus does not receive notice of a lawsuit, then any judgment entered against them is void for lack of jurisdiction.

While service of process can usually be accomplished with a registered process server or Sheriff, the situation becomes murky when “unknown” defendants are involved. Quiet title actions involve such unknown defendants, who are designated as any and all persons claiming an interest in the property at issue.

But in order is get a valid judgment against these unknown persons, any plaintiff must first follow the exact statutory requirements required to effectuate them with proper service by publication. Failure to follow these requirements can result in future legal action, even after a quiet title lawsuit that is designed to put title issues to rest. The attorneys at Underwood Law Firm are familiar with this process and are here to help guide you through service in quiet title actions.

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