Quiet Title Action

What is a Quiet Title action?
A quiet title action is a lawsuit filed in order to perfect or define a property owner’s rights and to remove actual or potential clouds on a property’s title. In short, this lawsuit is designed to “quiet” the title to property by removing questions concerning ownership, liens, and other issues affecting title to a property.

Why do I need a Quiet Title action?
There are many instances where a property owner may seek to quiet title to a property. For instance, the buyer of a tax deed property cannot obtain “marketable title” or title insurance until a Quiet Title action is performed. Second, a Quiet Title action may be necessary in other cases to clear potential title issues in order to allow an owner or buyer to obtain title insurance. Third, a Quiet Title action may be necessary to remove invalid liens or other encumbrances against a property. In each of these instances, a Quiet Title action helps property owners insure they have proper title to the property.

How long does a Quiet Title action take?
Once all Defendants have been served with the action, they each have 20 days to file a response from the date they are served. If no responses are served, they will be Defaulted and a Motion for Final Judgment after Default will be submitted to the Judge. The amount of time this process takes depends upon the location of the Defendants and how difficult they are to find. When all Defendants are easily located, our firm averages *under 60 days* from date of filing to entry of Final Judgment on uncontested Quiet Title actions. If a Defendant cannot be located, they can be served through publication in a newspaper of general circulation for 4 consecutive weeks, which adds 1 month of time and approximately $125 to $300 for the publication fees.

Do I have to complete the Quiet Title action before selling or refinancing the property?
Typically, yes. However, our office offers a unique program to certain, qualified tax deed purchasers of qualifying properties that allows them to immediately sell or refinance the property and obtain title insurance within thirty days or less after purchasing the property. In order to qualify for this program, our office must perform a preliminary review of the tax deed sale, a property title search, and a title examination.

What is the cost of a Quiet Title action?
The standard attorney fee for an uncontested Quite Title Action is $1500, plus the court costs, service of process, publication and other costs related to the lawsuit. Typically the filing fee is $400-$450, the title search is $150, the cost of publication can range anywhere from $125 to $400, and service of process on each of the defendants varies. If one of the defendants is deceased, it may be necessary to appoint an Guardian Ad Litem, which may cost an additional $500. A precise estimate of the cost for any particular Quiet Title action can be determined after a title search and examination of your property, which can be done for $250, $175 of which will be included in the attorney fee for handling the Quiet Title case. We accept debit and credit cards.

What do you need to proceed with a Quiet Title action?
We would need to have a copy of the Clerk’s Deed that was issued pursuant
to the tax deed sale, as well as a copy of the Clerk’s Certificate which is
usually filed in the public records shortly after the tax deed sale. We
would also need the property address, name and contact information for the
buyer and a retainer of $1000. The retainer would be applied toward the
initial Court costs. At the time the Quiet Title lawsuit is ready to be
filed, the balance of any fees and costs would then be due. In the event
that the buyer elects to do a post-closing Quiet Title action, all
attorney’s fees and costs would be collected out of the either the sale or
refinance of the property.

Will my appearance be required at any Court hearing?
Typically, you will not be required to attend any Court hearings. You will likely have to sign an affidavit for us to provide to the Court in connection with the Quiet Title action, but these may be provided by mail to you.

For further assistance concerning Quiet Title actions, please contact the Law Office of Henry W. Hicks to evaluate your situation.