March 12, 2014

Quiet Title Actions in California

Sometimes, the actual ownership of a piece of real property becomes at issue. There may be multiple claimants to the same property, issues with the title, or other ownership disputes. An action to “quiet title” is a lawsuit filed to establish who owns a particular real property. In so doing, the party is attempting to accomplish two goals:

  1. Assert their ownership rights to some (or all) of the particular piece of residential property, commercial property, or land.
  2. Obtain a determination from the court that other parties do not have ownership rights to the same property.

Quiet title actions have specific requirements:

  • Jurisdiction and Venue
    • A quiet title action must be brought in the superior court of the county in which the real property is located. Once the action is before the court, the court has complete power to determine title issues. [Code Civ. Proc. §§760.040, 760.050]
  • Specific Pleading Requirements
    • A complaint for a quiet title action must include:
      • A description of the property (both legal and actual)
      • Specific facts to support the legal ground for which the action is brought
      • Any adverse claims to the plaintiff’s title
      • The date for which the determination is sought
      • A prayer (request of the court) for the determination of plaintiff’s title against the adverse claims.
    • The complaint and answer must also be verified–the parties seeking and opposing the quiet title action must swear under the penalty of perjury that the allegations that they are making, or the denial of the allegations made by someone else, are true.
  • Proof Requirements: Typically an adverse party to a quiet title action in California will have to prove by clear and convincing evidence that they own or co-own the real property. This is a higher standard than the usual preponderance of evidence standard which only requires a party to prove that they are more likely to be right than wrong.
  • Notice Of Pending Action (Lis Pendens): To ensure that the California property at issue is not sold or encumbered during the pending litigation, the party seeking to quiet title should file and record a Notice of Pendency of Action which puts third parties on notice that there is a pending action which affects the title to the particular real property. Once recorded, such notice will let any potential purchaser or lender know that they proceed at their own risk in purchasing or lending on a real property where the title is in question.

If you find it necessary to assert your rights by filing a quiet title action in Los Angeles, consult with a real estate attorney at Beverly Hills Law Corp., PC. We handle such actions throughout the State of California. Contact our lead attorney and real estate broker, Sagar Parikh, Esq. Consultations for quiet title actions are always without cost.

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