In Florida, property owners and those looking to buy or sell real estate are encountering title issues that impact their ability to transfer or identify title ownership. Quiet title actions, which are legal actions used to clear legal title to real property, at times may be the only option to resolve a title dispute or to clear a cloud on real estate title/ownership.
Every quiet title actions first begins with a title search. A title search involves examining the public records of the county and state in which the subject property is located and determining whether there are any outstanding liens, mortgages, adverse claims of ownership or other encumbrances which “cloud” the title the property. After the title search is complete, the property owner will have a better idea of whether a quiet title action will be necessary to quell any other claims of ownership or encumbrances affecting the property. Clearing clouds on title is necessary because without clear title, the property will not be as marketable, and otherwise willing buyers might rethink their decision to purchase the property.
Once the determination of whether a quiet title action should be filed is complete, and a comprehensive title search and examination has been conducted, the lawsuit to quiet title is filed. The named Plaintiff in the lawsuit is the property owner who seeks to quiet the title. The named defendants are those persons or entities that have liens or adverse claims against the property. All interested parties and adverse claimants will have 20 days to file a response to the quiet title action. If the adverse claimants and interested parties (Defendants in the quiet title action) fail to file a response after being served, the Court will enter a default against said parties and the property owner will be able to obtain a final judgment quieting all adverse claims against the property. If however, the adverse claimants file a response to the quiet title action, the Court will examine the nature of their claims and the encumbrances against the property and determine whether and to what extent such encumbrances should be upheld. Quiet title actions are relatively straight forward lawsuits which are sometimes necessary in order to give the property owner the ability to properly market/sell the property. Contested Quiet title actions will generally take longer than uncontested quiet title actions.
Once the motion for final judgment to quiet title to the property is filed, the court will conduct an evidentiary hearing at which point the Court will make a final ruling as to whether title should be quieted against all of the named defendants. To learn more about filing a lawsuit to quiet title under Florida law, visit this free legal resource.
Title issues can arise in any type of real estate transaction and can be the source of serious legal disputes that can jeopardize your interests and investments in real estate. If you need help with a quiet title action anywhere in Florida, Edelboim Lieberman Revah Oshinsky PLLC is here to represent your interests. Our quiet title attorneys are highly experienced real estate litigators that regularly handle quiet title actions state-wide.