Civil Causes of Action - Quiet Title Law and Legal Definition

Title is the sum total of legally recognized rights to the possession and ownership of property. In the case of real property, an action to confirm title, sometimes referred to as an action to "quiet title" may be brought to affirm ownership of the property when others claim an interest in such property. This is often seen in relation to back tax liens or liens or easements (rights of way) on the property.

An action to quiet title is generally initiated by filing a complaint to quiet title in the court with jurisdiction over the property. Procedures for quieting title vary by state and according to the parties involved and type of claim on the property. Local law should be consulted for the specific requirements in your area.

A quiet title action is filed by a person or entity claiming title toall or a portion of a specific parcel of property and asks for a ruling that plaintiff’s title is superior to any interest held or claimed by any of the named defendants. It is a mechanism to cure defects in the title to property, thereby providing assurance to the owner who brings the action, as well as subsequent purchasers, of the status of title and accuracy of the real property records. Reliability of real property records in the U.S. are higher than in most other countries because of quiet title actions, strict recording requirements and the involvement of title insurance companies. A quiet title action is often brought against both known and unknown parties. Known parties are those having some record interest in title or having possession of the property. Also, unknown parties may be named and served by publication in order to terminate potential claims. Unknown parties are those who may claim an interest in the property derivative of the named parties or as a result of the subject matter of the action. The following is an example of a state statute governing quiet title actions:

"65.031 Real estate; removing clouds; plaintiffs.--An action in chancery for quieting title to, or clearing a cloud from, land may be maintained in the name of the owner or of any prior owner who warranted the title. All lands, the title to which is subject to a common defect, may be embraced in one action irrespective of the number of existing legal or equitable owners."