Quiet Title Lawsuits
An action to quiet title or remove a cloud on title serves to cure and perfect legal title to real property. The purpose of a quiet title action is to afford relief in three general situations:
- It enables the rightful owner to secure relief against a person who is not the rightful owner, but who nevertheless asserts some claim or who pretends to have some right or title to such land, under a conveyance thereof or otherwise;
- It enables one who claims by a title, good but for the defective execution or acknowledgment of a deed or mortgage under which he claims, and which was intended to convey or mortgage the whole title, to have his title quieted and established as against such defect and against those who may appear or claim to have some interest in the land by reason thereof; and
- It affords a means by which an existing record title may be extinguished as a cloud upon the title of one who has acquired a good and sufficient title by adverse possession.
When any of these three situations occurs, the plaintiff may file a lawsuit to quiet title, remove any asserted cloud, and cancel any improper conveyance or other evidence of title. These remedies are available regardless of whether: (1) the plaintiff is in possession of the property; (2) the defendant is a resident of the state; (3) the title has been litigated at law; or (4) the claim or interest is void on its face or requires extrinsic evidence to establish.
To quiet title, a plaintiff’s proof must show with clearness, accuracy, and certainty, not only the validity of their own title, but the invalidity or inferiority of defendant's title or claim, unless such invalidity or inferiority be admitted by defendant by default, disclaimer, or otherwise. Quiet Title actions may be brought in the name of the current owner or prior owners who may have warranted the title involved.Quieting Tax Deed Titles
Because tax deeds carry an inherent risk of being declared invalid if the tax deed proceedings are later determined to be defective, and because this determination can be made many years after the tax deed issues, tax titles are not automatically marketable. A title based on a tax deed that has been of record for more than 20 years is considered marketable under most circumstances. If, however, a tax deed has been of record for fewer than 20 years, most subsequent purchasers, lenders, and title insurers will not consider the title marketable and will require the tax deed holder to obtain a judgment quieting title in the holder before relying on the tax title.
F.S. 65.081 provides for the quieting of tax titles. It applies to any grantee of a tax deed issued by the state, a municipality, or other political subdivision, or to any purchaser of land that had been acquired by the state, municipality, or political subdivision through foreclosure for nonpayment of taxes or special assessments. It permits the grantee or purchaser to maintain an action to quiet title against the holders of the record title to the property and any other persons or corporations claiming any interest in or any lien or encumbrance on the land before the issuance of the tax deed or before the loss of title to the land in any tax proceeding or foreclosure.
Actions to quiet a tax title may be maintained whether or not the plaintiff is in possession of the land; however, when the defendant is in actual possession, either party may demand a jury trial.
Our Miami real estate law firm frequently litigates quiet title actions. If you have questions about quiet title lawsuits, please contact our law firm at 305-501-2836 to schedule a free telephone consultation to discuss your particular situation.