Quiet Title Actions

What is a Quiet Title Action?

A quiet title action is a lawsuit that is filed with the intended purpose to establish or settle the title to a property. They are particularly prevalent in cases where there is a disagreement regarding ownership. The lawsuit is meant to remove, or “quiet,” a claim or “cloud” to a title. In other words, the cloud of the title is lifted through a quiet title action.

There are a multitude of reasons a person would file a quiet title action: anyone can commence a quiet title action regardless of whether the respondent is asserting a present right to gain possession of the premises. The action will be served on the other party that has an ownership claim to the property. Now, the defending parties must appear in court to assert a defense. There are several scenarios that will commonly warrant the filing of a quiet title action, but they can be generally whittled down to two broad categories: Liens and Title Issues.

What you need to know

First, liens: but what exactly is a lien? A lien is the right to keep possession of property belonging to another person until a debt owed by that person is discharged. In essence, they give somebody the right to another person’s property. Of all liens, mortgages are the most prevalent. Other liens may include judgments, violations, and various other title issues. Quiet Title actions can, in some instances, remove the liens from a property.

In New York State, the statute limitations for a mortgage foreclosure action is six years from the date of default. That means, if, after six years, the bank has either not commenced a foreclosure action or recommenced a foreclosure action after a prior dismissal, they may not be able to commence a new claim. In other words, a quiet title action is a legal procedure that seeks to “quiet” claims to the property, so that an owner is guaranteed a clear title. At the Queens based full-service firm of Shiryak, Bowman, Anderson, Gill & Kadochnikov LLP, we can help you through all the steps that come with clarifying the title to your home. In 2019, our firm removed over $40 million in mortgages, thanks to tough attorneys, smart litigating, and committed representation both in and out of court.

Title issues

Second, in quiet title issues of course we have the title. Titles issues refer to any issues concerning the ownership of the property. Quiet Title actions also work to remove claims to a title just as it does to remove liens from a title. Title issues can include:

  • Deed Issues
  • Easement: the right to cross or otherwise use someone else’s land for a specified purpose
  • Covenants: a promise made to engage in or refrain from a specified action

Property purchased from a deceased person’s estate may come with title issues as, at times, heirs will later step forward to assert a claim to the property. For these scenarios and many others, a quiet title action will prove essential to clear your title to the property. Often, for old title defects, no one will respond to the court filing. As such, the judge will likely issue a ruling in your favor, thus clearing the title defect. You will now have a clear title that will enable you to sell or refinance the home. Should the defendants contest the action, you will need to go to court and provide evidence in support of your claim. Quiet title actions are used to clear the title to a piece of property, so if you own a property with a cloudy title, you will likely need to file a quiet title action. Clearing the title is especially important if you intend to sell or refinance the home in the near future. As a property owner, you can file a quiet title action in the Supreme Court in New York.

Why file a Quiet Title Action?

Quiet title actions can be useful when property is sold at a judicial sale following foreclosure, when the party who lost the property alleges the sale is improper, or when the party who purchased the property wants to extinguish all possible adverse claims. They can also be used to clear up disputes over old easements, or when a party alleges a piece of real estate was conveyed fraudulently. If you have a property that has either been in foreclosure for many years or has had a foreclosure case dismissed, a Quiet Title action could save your home. Easement disputes are commonplace and can be solved through a quiet title claim.

Alternatively, if you purchase a piece of property that was foreclosed, there may be title uncertainties that can be resolved with a quiet title action. Of these uncertainties, covenants are the most important as they try to bar someone from selling the property without an interested party’s permission.

How we can help

Quiet title actions in New York require experienced real estate litigation counsel. Procedural rules, especially those regarding notice to adverse parties, must be carefully followed. Fortunately, Shiryak, Bowman, Anderson, Gill & Kadochnikov LLP is more than capable of handling your needs in an efficient and effective manner. At SBAGK, we take our time and utilize our decades of experience to analyze every Quiet Title Action to decide what the best option is for you and your home.

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