People from all over the world are interested in owning property in the Sunshine State. A person establishes their ownership of property by holding its title, meaning they are the registered owners—their name appears on the deed in the County Clerk’s office.
Unfortunately, the records on file are not always accurate. If someone pledged property as security for a debt, transferred ownership to someone else as a joint tenant with the right of survivorship, fell behind on their property taxes, or had a boundary dispute with a neighbor, someone else might have an interest in the property.
An action to quiet title can resolve matters when it is unclear who has the rights to a piece of property. Our real estate attorneys at Daneri Diez are here to help in these situations. A Miami Shores quiet title action lawyer at our firm can review your situation and help you protect your rights.
Preliminary Steps in a Quiet Title Action
When someone buys a piece of property, ensuring they receive a clear title should be a priority. Obtaining a clear title means they have assurance that no one else will claim an ownership interest in the property. Sometimes, though, the chain of ownership is not perfectly clear, and it is impossible for a seller to convey a clear title. An action to quiet title under Florida Statutes § 65.031 could resolve the matter.
A Miami Shores quick title action attorney would first do a title search on the property. The title search could reveal liens, misrecorded property transfers, easements, unpaid property taxes, and other issues that could “cloud” the title. A cloud on the title means the potential exists for someone else to claim an interest in it.
If the title search discovers one or more clouds, the legal professional must identify parties with a potential interest in the property. The party could be an heir or former spouse of a previous owner, an investor, neighbor, mortgagor, or tax authority. If the party with an apparent interest is a bank mortgage holder or a tax authority, a motion to quiet title will not clear those claims.
Clearing an Apparent Cloud on the Title
An owner’s interest in a property is protected if they can demonstrate they have a clear title. Although title insurance could help if someone challenges the right to the property, it does not provide a clear title.
A Miami Shores attorney could work to resolve a cloud on a title before filing suit. Clouds on a title are often no more than record-keeping errors. Filing the appropriate papers with the County Clerk’s office can resolve such issues.
Sometimes there are legitimate disputes that require resolution before an owner can get a clear title. Boundary disputes, easements, and other issues sometimes require negotiation and payment to settle claims. A lawyer could provide invaluable assistance in resolving these disputes. Property owners are often willing to negotiate in order to get a clear title that allows them to manage and convey the property without hindrances.
Initiating a Quiet Title Action
A person seeking to quiet title is known as the petitioner. Others who claim or could claim an interest in it are the respondents. A Miami Shores attorney must serve all the respondents with a petition to quiet title. The petition includes significant research showing why the claims of the parties with an alleged interest in the property are invalid.
When the parties are known, service can be accomplished in person. However, if the location of the party with a potential interest is unknown, the petitioner’s attorney must serve the notice by publication in the newspaper and wait several weeks for a response.
If all parties were served in person, they have 20 days to respond to the action. If a respondent does not answer the petition, the court will enter a default judgement against them and extinguish any claim they might have to the property. If a respondent objects to the quiet title action, the court will hold a hearing. After reviewing the evidence from both sides, the judge issues a final judgment that could extinguish any competing claims to the property and award the petitioner a clear title. This process can be complicated, which is why working with a seasoned attorney is vital.
Get in Touch With a Miami Shores Quiet Title Action Attorney
If you own property and are not sure whether you have a clear title to it, contact a Miami Shores quiet title action lawyer at Daneri Diez. Our team could research your case, identify and locate others who might have an interest in the property, and work to resolve the issue.