Real estate is a unique type of property. Land may change hands often, and frequently, more than one party has or appears to have an ownership interest in the same parcel of land or in structures built on that land. When the true ownership of a piece of real property may be in question, the property can have what is referred to as a “clouded” title. A possible full ownership interest may cloud a title, but so can partial ownership interests, like an apparent lien in an amount less than the value of the real property.
Even if the parties with a potential ownership interest in a piece of real property are not engaged in an active dispute, it may be important to remove the cloud on a title because it can be difficult to fully utilize real property with a clouded title; for instance, you may not be able to sell it or borrow against its value. In order to establish your clear and sole ownership of a piece of real property, a quiet title action may be necessary.
There are many scenarios in which more than one party can have a claim to a piece of real property. For example, if a seller agreed to sell a piece of property but died before the transaction was finalized, leaving a will in which the property was given to a relative, both the buyer and the relative may have grounds to pursue a quiet title action.
In a quiet title action, the plaintiff files suit against all defendants who may have an ownership claim in the real property. The goal is to establish clear title – to “quiet” any potential challenges to the title.
Quiet title actions are equitable actions decided by judges in Michigan. The plaintiff must establish a superior interest above all other parties claiming an interest in the real property to be successful.
A successful quiet title action results in an order establishing clear title in your name. However, it is important to note that if your goal is to remove people living on the property, clear title alone does not permit you to kick them out, and you must file a separate eviction proceeding.
Real property can be very valuable, but it is nearly worthless if you are unable to dispose of it as you please. If you need help with a quiet title action, get in touch with a Michigan real estate attorney today. With a clear title, you will be able to fully utilize the land you own and head off future legal headaches.
Our law firm is ready to help. Contact the real estate and estate planning attorneys at Galloway and Collens, PLLC.