Legal Assistance For Quiet Title Actions
A suit to quiet title is often confused with the legal claim trespass to try title. In a suit to quiet title, the claimant seeks to remove a defect in his or her chain of title. For example, this can take the form of an improper deed, improper lien or an adverse possession claim.
It is not unusual for a person to claim some interest or right in a piece of real property. And it is not uncommon for another person to dispute that claim by claiming it is invalid or unenforceable. Such claims range from a claimed ownership interest in all of the property or a part.
Sometimes it is an assertion of a lien or other encumbrance against the property. The disputed claim is said to create a "cloud" on the title. To settle the dispute and clear the title, the circumstances may leave the title holder with few remedies. One remedy is an "action to quiet title," also known as a suit to remove a cloud from the title.
Attorneys and judges often use the terms "action to quiet title" or "suit to remove a cloud" in a broad sense. The broader application may stem from the wording and interpretation of the venue statue. The venue of an action affecting the title to land is in the county where the property is located. Contact The Weaver Law Firm to learn more about suits to quiet title. Our firm overcomes challenges. It's what we do.
What Is a Cloud On the Title?
The cloud on the title may have been created by a deed, contract, judgment or other instrument. It does not need to be recorded. The person contesting its validity may not have been a party to the instrument. Therefore, traditional remedies of rescission or reformation may be unavailable. The cloud may not be an opposing claim for title and possession.
The complaining party may not be an ownership claimant either, eliminating the statutory action for trespass to try title. Thus, the action to quiet title can be used to establish that the adverse party's claim is invalid or unenforceable. This can be done without impact on the title to the property in question.
The aim is to obtain a court decree or declaration that the adverse claim is invalid. This would clear or "quiet" the title to the property. It would remove the cloud. It would be wise to obtain a judgment declaring title quieted. Judgment should also remove and annul all clouds on it. It should declare certain liens invalid and unenforceable.
What Makes a Case Successful?
The successful prosecution of a suit to quiet title cannot result in the recovery of damages for harm caused by the existence of the cloud on the title. Recovery of money damages requires the complaining party to add and establish the elements of some legal remedy such as an action for slander of title.
The equitable cause of action to quiet title or remove a cloud should not be confused with other actions that may have the effect of clearing or establishing title, such as a suit in trespass to try title or an action to rescind or reform a deed or other contract. The goal of an action to quiet title is not to establish the superiority of the plaintiff's title, declare the invalidity or correct the irregularity of some instrument the plaintiff was unlawfully induced to sign; rather, its purpose is to nullify the effect of the disputed claim or encumbrance (the "cloud") that affects or impairs the title to the property when no other means exist to establish that the claim is invalid or unenforceable.
Maintaining the distinctions among remedies is helpful. The plaintiff must eliminate or correct a document in chain of title. An action for reformation or rescission may be joined as a preliminary step. This can work toward establishing the plaintiff's interest, invalidating the defendant's claim or both. However, the title document subject to rescission or reformation may be the only cloud on the title. Eliminating or correcting it may provide all the relief the plaintiff needs. Still, an action to quiet title is often added to a suit for reformation or rescission for caution.
Contact Us For More Information
Do you wish to resolve a problem with your title? Do you wish to legally establish ownership of your property? For more information about a quiet title, please contact our lawyer in Houston by calling 713-454-7875.
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