Updated on September 25, 2023
When is it appropriate to file a quiet title lawsuit? There are many instances in which someone might find themselves having to file a quiet title lawsuit; One reason might be someone purchased a property but was initially not on title. Another reason might be to protect ones rights to an easement that was not recorded. Below we will be discussing two scenarios in which someone might need to file a quiet title lawsuit.
The purpose of a quiet title lawsuit is to gain clear title to land when there is a dispute over ownership (or use for the purposes of easements) of the land. Therefore, if you have a claim to ownership of land or an easement, but such ownership or easement is not recorded through a deed, then to ensure you are the owner with all rights that come with such ownership, you should file an action for quiet title. Indeed, unless you file a quiet title lawsuit and subsequently record the judgment granting you title, there will be no public record of your ownership of such property. This could negatively affect your future rights to the property.
For example, if you purchased a property but could not be on the deed for various reasons, the person whose name is on the deed can claim that the property actually belongs to him because he is on title. This is true even if your funds were used to purchase the property and you subsequently paid the mortgage and all expenses on the property. Unfortunately, to the public, the property belongs to the person whose name is on the deed. Therefore, if the title holder refuses to transfer title to your name, then you must bring a quiet title lawsuit to gain title to the property. This is the only way to ensure that you are regarded as the property owner to the public’s eye.
As another example, if you have been using a portion of a neighboring property for ingress and egress for years, you could have established an easement on that property. Unfortunately, if that easement is not recorded, then the property owner can claim that you have no right to use his property and block your use even after you have established an easement on the property. Therefore, to protect your rights to the easement, you should file a quiet title lawsuit to such an easement.
These are just two examples of disputes that call for a quiet title lawsuit. However, the main point is that if there is a dispute over ownership or use of a property, then a quiet title lawsuit must be filed to establish the true owner of the property or the existence of an easement.