Nearly every real estate property has a history of property owners, also called a “chain of titles.” What this means is that there’s a record of ownership over a specific piece of property. For example, if you bought your property from someone, the chain of titles should hold a record of your ownership of the property, the record of who previously owned the property – the person who sold the property or distributed the property in an estate plan – and the owners of the property all the way down to the original owner, each creating a link in the chain of titles.
Each of these links allows people to verify the true owner of a property, preventing false claims over an estate. However, some property titles have unclear documentation. When this happens, it can be difficult to buy or sell a property or even claim a property is legally owned.
How do you fix a break in a chain of titles?
During a property investment, a chain of titles may be presented by a title company, which may also include a land survey to clarify the physical boundaries of a property. When it’s discovered that a chain of titles is missing a link, property owners or investors may file a “quiet title” claim. A quiet title is a lawsuit that attempts to clarify property ownership – essentially repairing a break in a chain of titles.
A quiet title claim may happen when it’s unclear who actually owns a property title. This can happen if there are missing legal documents but there is some implication of the true owner of the property. A quiet title claim may even establish boundary disputes.
If a property title isn’t clear, then you may need to know your legal options when filing for a quiet title. When a quiet title claim is made, a judge will likely issue a decision on who the property should go through, resolve any challenges or clarify any inconsistencies in a chain of titles.