Quiet Title Actions / Title Disputes / Title Insurance Disputes
In real estate, title is the right of ownership and possession of a particular property. Real estate title disputes can arise from property boundary line discrepancies, easements, land use, covenants, or competing deeds. Property buyers or owners may discover title defects in the midst of a real estate transaction or even after the deal is completed.
Title disputes can arise when there are conflicting claims of ownership over a specific property. If there is some controversy as to the owner of a piece of property or as to the specific property owned by a particular person, a quiet title action may be commenced. In a quiet title action, the court will examine the evidence surrounding title of the property and firmly establish ownership of property thereby eliminating any competing claims to title. A quiet title action literally “quiets” the title in your name so that you will be able sell or refinance the property when and how you like.
Liens, claims by prior owners, and other matters affecting title are called “clouds” on title. A cloud on title may appear when there is a recording problem, such as when an old lease or deed was improperly recorded or when there was a failure to clear title after the payment of a mortgage. The property description on the deed may also be vague or erroneous which can cast doubt on the amount or location of property owned. Also, an easement may have existed for years but never been properly recorded. When such title defects occur, a quiet title action can be utilized to remove any “cloud” or encumbrance on the title.
Real estate buyers may mistakenly believe that their title insurance policies fully protect them from all possible legal issues related to their property. While it is true that owners’ title insurance policies are wise investments and certainly afford a great deal of necessary protection, securing title insurance will not preclude you from every title challenge or dispute involving other real estate issues. Buyers may still face challenges to boundary lines, easements, restrictive covenants, zoning laws, or other challenges to title that may arise.
Legal disputes involving title to property can take many forms. Title insurance legal disputes may involve whether title is, in fact, marketable, meaning there are no liens, debts, or other encumbrances that would make the property defective. Also, there may be a title dispute as to whether the required scope of disclosures by the property owner was met, or perhaps there is confusion as to which parties are actually covered by a title insurance policy. Lastly, a common legal issue relating to title insurance is the amount of title insurance benefits and the parties to which the benefits are to be paid. Last, but not least, recovering title insurance benefits may be the main objective of a dispute.
Many title insurance disputes are complex and result in litigation. Thus, in order to prevent such legal disputes over title insurance, it is prudent to consult with a title insurance attorney to ensure all terms are clearly negotiated and finalized into a written insurance contract. If you do find yourself involved in a dispute involving title defects, clouds on title, or in a title insurance coverage dispute, contact Ronald D. Wiley, Jr., an experienced title dispute lawyer, at MartinWren, P.C., at (434) 817-3100.
Conflicts in property ownership should be resolved fully and swiftly for adequate protection of the property and owner. The quiet title lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. are prepared to undertake detailed investigations and help you either prove or defend a quiet title claim. Our firm has extensive experience in real estate matters and has the necessary skills to resolve even the most complex title disputes. Whether through arbitration, mediation, negotiation, or litigation, the title dispute attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. are equipped to zealously represent your unique needs and best interests. To discuss your real property title concerns, please contact Ronald D. Wiley, Jr. at 434-817-3100.