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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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What is a quiet title? How does a quiet title apply?

Customer Question

what is a quiet title? How does a quiet title apply?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

"Quiet title" refers to the procedural mechanism where a person with a property interest in real property (so land, not things) can file an action against any and all other competing claims for that interest in order to establish their right.

This can be for either ownership or easement rights, but it must be for a specific type of property interest.

While under the heading of "quiet title", these actions are actually built on substantive legal claims dealing with real property principles (either statute or case law, and in some cases administrative codes or even private contract - such as HOA matters).

While it is possible to prosecute or defend a quiet title action on your own, I highly recommend retaining a civil litigation attorney with some experience in these matters. As noted above, these are highly procedural matters and failure to adhere to the proper procedure can cause a litigant to lose an otherwise meritorious claim.

You can find local attorneys using the State and local Bar Association directories, or private directories such as www.AVVO.com; www.FindLaw.com; or www.Martindale.com (I personally find www.AVVO.com to be the most user friendly).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Since I have been involved in a law suite for three years now and lived in the home for 14 years, would you recommend a quiet title being the next course of action?Please remember that I entered into an agreement 14 years ago for the lease purchase of the home/property have had three contracts on the property and to date nothing has settled, hence I stopped paying the lease purchase on the home as well.
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

I'm not sure what type of law suit you have been involved in. You may need to bring this as another cause of action in your current suit (this is difficult 3 years in, but not impossible).

Remember, a "Quiet Title" action is simply a procedural vehicle for you to bring a civil claim, it does not create a new right of action, or a new basis to sue.

If you are in ongoing litigation, you will want to focus on that litigation. If you are not represented by counsel - please at least consider consulting with an attorney locally (there is no way that someone could competently advise you without reviewing your current litigation papers, and time is likely of the essence - if you need to add, amend, or address claims or defenses, you will want to do that quickly).

Do keep in mind, that for the vast majority of claims, you do not get a second chance to litigate a matter that has already been decided. (This is under the related doctrines of "res judicata" "collateral estoppel" "issue preclusion" and "claim preclusion" - basically this means that if there is a dispute regarding a common claim with common legal arguments between the same parties, the court will not entertain a second suit). So there is unlikely to be a chance of a second lawsuit based on a new cause of action alone.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
From what you are stating here, the best course of action is to continue the suit that is currently underway with my Attorney? I have no way to get this to move along faster? I have been through two Attorney's and spend a lot of money only to be in the same exact situation that I have been in for the past three years.There has to be some end to this dance without having to give up my home.
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunately that is how civil litigation works. It is not unusual for civil matters to last up to 5 years, and it can get expensive.

I do wish that there was a summary mechanism (if there was many of my own clients would be very appreciative - as would my family), but the current system is somewhat slow (a large part of this is due to public funding for civil courts being cut significantly which reduces the amount of time available for hearings/trials/etc.).

And civil litigation is simply expensive - to do it properly you must be able to respond to motions, prepare for hearings, get experts, etc. failing to do this can leave you vulnerable to motions for summary judgment from the opposing side, or unable to prove your claims at trial.

A Quiet Title Action is simply another form of civil litigation - and these actions are not any faster than other civil suits (and given their procedural hurdles can take a bit longer).

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