Property owners in California hold title to their real property. The county recorder’s office where they live or own real property has an official record of the deed that allowed them to assume ownership, and the chain of ownership records can help resolve any disputes that arise.
Keeping track of all of the deeds related to a property helps protect ownership rights and the interests of financial institutions. Unfortunately, mistakes in title records can cause huge challenges for those hoping to refinance or transfer property. Quiet title proceedings are a way to remove certain title blemishes in the California civil courts.
When might those with real property require quiet title proceedings?
1. When there is a paid lien still on record
Maybe the property owner had a second mortgage that was a home equity line of credit. They took a draw against the account to replace their roof or add an addition to the property and then paid off the full amount they owed.
However, the mortgage still shows up when someone checks the title records for the property. Other times, it might be a lien held by a private business or another person. Mechanic’s liens allow someone who did work at a property to demand payment by using the property as collateral after the fact.
Such liens should come off of title records when satisfied but may require quiet title proceedings if they didn’t get removed.
2. When there is a prior owner on record
Sometimes, title issues have to do with an owner showing up on a property’s title history who does not have an interest in the property anymore. The prior owner could still show up on title after property transfers as part of probate proceedings, or an ex-spouse might still show up on title years after a divorce in which they received their fair share of equity.
In scenarios where there is a deed or other documentation making it clear that a prior owner no longer has an interest in the property, a quiet title action can help remove blemishes that would necessitate someone else’s signature or another deed before a real estate transaction.
Pursuing quiet title proceedings can benefit real estate owners in a multitude of different circumstances in which title records do not accurately reflect the current property situation.