Common Q & A’s about Quiet Titles
Getting Started with a Quiet Title action
Why use Robert Peters for Your Quiet Title?
What is a Florida Tax Deed Quiet Title?
It is a powerful tool in clearing the title to tax deed purchases through a lawsuit known as a Tax Deed Quiet Title Action. The beauty of a Quiet Title is the elimination of the title issues on real property purchased through a tax deed sale. This is known as removing “the cloud” against the title.
How Does A Quiet Title Work At Your Office?
Step 1: Obtain a Title Search to determine the exact nature of the title problems.
My first order of business is to request a Title Search Report which provides me a history of the chain of ownership and tells me any person or company that has any legal interest in the property. The title search is my blueprint on what to do since my goal is to get a title insurance company to insure the title.
Parties found to have an interest in the real property will become the Defendants in the Quiet Title Action. In most cases the Defendants are the prior property owners, their heirs, occupants, mortgage companies, or other companies holding liens against the property.
Step 2: Prepare the Quiet Title Complaint
Once we determine the Defendants and identify any other title issues I will begin preparing the Complaint to Quiet Title. In Florida, Florida Statute 65.081 provides a purchaser the right to obtain a quiet title as the grantee of a Tax Deed. I use that as the basis of my lawsuit and the typical language I include in the very first paragraph of my Quiet Title Complaints include:
“This is an action to quiet title pursuant to Section 65.081 Florida Statutes, Florida Quiet Title Act to real property”
Step 3: Finding and Serving the Defendants
Just as with any lawsuit, Defendants are entitled to Due Process. This means we must serve any Defendants with proper notice of the court proceeding, so either the Sheriff or a Certified Process Server is hired to find and serve the Defendants with a copy of the lawsuit. After being served and if no one responds, which is typical, then the judge will issue a default judgment quieting the title. There are instances where Defendants cannot be found or may be deceased. In these cases we would advertise the lawsuit against the Defendants in a newspaper in the same county the real property is located.
How long does a Quiet Title Action Take?
The total time varies depending on how backed up the court is, but averages around 4 months, depending on the facts of your case. If someone does respond to the lawsuit, then the attorney will decide how to respond. I’m going to brag on my firm as it takes most attorneys 9-12 months. I pride myself in getting them done as quickly as possible. Time is money and I am keenly aware of that as I have invested in tax certificates and tax deeds myself for years. Time also depends upon the number of parties who may have potential claims against the subject property. If the previous owner is deceased or if anyone appears to contest the quiet title, it can complicate matters and complications mean more time.
Does Quiet Title Eliminate All Liens Or Problems?
A Quiet Title Action is a powerful tool in eliminating the majority of title issues. There are some liens that a Quiet Title will not eliminate. For example, municipal nuisance liens cannot be eliminated. You have to work that out with the municipality.
What Happens If There Is A Mortgage On The Property?
Mortgage Lenders, just like any other interested party are Defendants in the Quiet Title Action. Although they have 20 days to respond, typically lenders don’t and their lien is eliminated by the Quiet Title Action.
Do I Have To Go To Court?
Normally no, you do not have to appear in court. In rare cases we may need you to come to court for a short hearing.
If I Purchased A Property At A Tax Deed Sale, Can I Sell The Property Or Obtain Title Insurance/Financing Without A Quiet Title Action?
If you have a cash purchaser that is willing to accept the title as-is (with all it’s problems), then by all means sell it. But, most buyers will want marketable title and if financing is involved, lenders universally require title insurance. It is rare for any title insurance company or financing company to lend money on the basis of an “unquieted” tax deed title, given potential claims that might arise out of any defects in the tax deed sale process. So in most cases a “Quiet Title” action will be required if the property was acquired by a tax deed. The necessity of a “Quiet Title” action is extremely important when title insurance is required for financing.
What about other companies that say I don’t need a Quiet Title?
I can’t speak for other companies, but if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. For instance, Clear to Sell touts they “certify” tax deeds within 20 days for an “initial” fee of $900.00 for research. But, once they decide they will issue the certificate another fee of $1,850.00 is charged. What they don’t tell you is that your title certification is only clear for you. That means once you sell the property to a buyer they are stuck with any title issues to clean up and I guarantee you, they won’t be happy. Not to mention, Attorney fees for a tax deed quiet title action are less expensive and clear up the title permanently. My advice to you – proceed with caution dealing with any company promising a quick fix for clearing up title to a tax deed property.