In most cases, the only way to remove a cloud on a property title is to go through a legal process known as a quiet title action or lawsuit, during which an adverse claim or cloud on the title to real property is removed. In the lawsuit, the owner or plaintiff names all of the defendants who might have an interest in the property's title, to include prior owners, descendants, and lienholders. However, in some cases, a quiet title action is a so-called friendly lawsuit, in which there is no opposition from defendants. In those cases, a lawsuit is filed primarily to give the public constructive notice of the plaintiff's claim. The time frame to complete a quiet title action usually depends on the actions taken by the plaintiffs, the amount of time the plaintiffs have to respond to the complaint that was filed with the lawsuit, and any statutory public notice requirements that must be met. For example, here in Florida, it can take anywhere from three to six months to complete a quiet title action. After all of the statutory procedures involved in a quiet title action have been completed, the judge hearing the case will make a decision based on the evidence presented by both parties. And if the lawsuit is decided in the plaintiff's favor, the judge will order that a final judgment be issued that removes the cloud from the property's title.
Once I have property with title problems under option, I hire an experienced professional title abstractor or researcher to do a title search at the public records library in the county where the property's title is recorded. And just as soon as I get the property's title report, I send it to my real estate attorney, who files a quiet title lawsuit, in which all the parties claiming an interest in the property are named as defendants. At the same time, the required legal notices are published in the court's paper of record to give the public notice of the lawsuit. I
usually end up paying my attorney between $800 and $1,200 to handle a quiet title action for me.
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