When someone holds a title to a home or unimproved parcel in Massachusetts, that means they are the owner of record for that piece of real property. Some people hold title alone, while others share their ownership interest with a spouse, a child or even a friend. Title records allow the state to validate someone’s claim of ownership and to facilitate the lower-conflict transfer of real property from one owner to another after a sale or the death of an owner. Title records also help mortgage lenders and other creditors recoup what a property owner owes them.
Unfortunately, sometimes there are issues with title records that can affect how an owner uses their property. Issues with the title records for a property could prevent someone from selling real property or from refinancing it, for example. Occasionally, the only real solution for such title blemishes involves going to civil court.
Quiet title actions can remedy title issues
Perhaps there is a mechanic’s lien still showing up on the county records despite the owner paying for those services years ago. Maybe there was a divorce or a death in the family that resulted in someone’s removal from title, but they still show up as an owner. When there is a clear record of who owns a property that does not align with the official records maintained by the county recorder’s office, the owners of the property can take action by asking the civil courts for help. A quiet title action involves having a judge review title records and other relevant evidence related to the property’s ownership.
A judge can potentially order the correction of inaccurate county records. They can remove old liens and invalid easements. They can also take an owner off of the record when they no longer have an interest in the property. Quiet title proceedings are often technical in nature, meaning that there is a plaintiff and no one really arguing the other perspective. Sometimes, there will be a dispute that a judge will have to review and later rule on in accordance with Massachusetts law.
For those who worry about whether an issue with inaccurate title records may affect their utilization of one of their most valuable assets, quiet title proceedings may be the simplest solution. Seeking legal guidance to learn more about the different reasons for real estate litigation may help people recognize when going to court could be the fastest and most effective solution for their situation.