Updated on December 23, 2021
For disputes involving title to real property, you may encounter concepts relating to quiet title, easements, and adverse possession. You may ask yourself, what is the difference between quiet title and easements? You may also ask yourself, what is the difference between quiet title and adverse possession? In this post, I briefly discuss each of these concepts and explain how they may interact.
An easement is a non-possessory interest in the land of another to use that land in a particular manner. For example, your neighbor could have an easement over your driveway to access their garage. As another example, the utility company could have an easement over your land to maintain and repair overhead power lines. For more information on easements, please refer to our post Different types of Easement.
Adverse possession is a legal theory that allows someone in possession of land to acquire ownership of that land if they satisfy certain statutory requirements. This may occur if someone occupies someone else’s land with the intention of claiming it as their own and pays property taxes for the statutory period of five years. This can also occur if there a recorded instrument that creates an interest in someone else’s land for the statutory period five years. For more information on adverse possession, please refer to our post Adverse Possession Overview.
With respect to easements, disputes often arise regarding the existence, location, and ownership of an easement. With respect to an adverse possession claim, disputes obviously arise regarding whether someone has established the elements to adversely possess another’s land. In that situation, the owner on title may want to cut-off a hostile occupant’s claim to the title owner’s land.
When disputes arise regarding easements, an adverse possession claim or other disputes affecting title, any party may file a complaint that includes a cause of action for “quiet title” to resolve the dispute. This is because the purpose of a quiet title action is to “quiet” any adverse claims against title.
Thus, a person may file a quiet title action to resolve a dispute regarding whether an easement exists. A person may also file a quiet title action to establish their ownership of the property using the legal theory of adverse possession. However, there are also other types of quiet title disputes that may not involve easements or adverse possession, such as invalid liens and other types of ownership disputes.
Our Los Angeles based real estate lawyers at Schorr Law have extensive experience with all types of quiet title claims, including, but not limited to, quiet title claims involving easements and adverse possession. To see if you qualify for a free 30-minute consultation regarding your matter, please contact our specific performance dispute attorney in California by phone, email, or send us a message through our contact form.