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By John R. Merlino Jr. Esq.
Founding Attorney

In the complex world of real estate law, quiet title actions are essential legal mechanisms that help parties resolve disputes and clear clouds on property ownership. 

If you’re considering buying or selling property in New York, learn how quiet title actions may affect the process and how these lawsuits can help resolve pending issues.

Quiet Title Actions Explained

A quiet title action is a lawsuit that helps clear a title to any property, including a home, a commercial building, or land.

The function of these lawsuits is to “quiet” any competing claims or disputes on a title that may affect a real estate sale or transfer. As such, these legal actions are often the best way for parties to resolve ambiguities, discrepancies, and clashing interests regarding a property’s title. 

In most cases, quiet title actions are the only way to ensure legal property ownership. While these lawsuits may seem like an extra burden, they’re often the most effective way to protect yourself and your assets.

When are quiet title actions necessary?

Quiet title actions become necessary when there is a cloud on a title, which refers to any claim, lien, or encumbrance that may impair an owner’s ability to sell, transfer, or mortgage the property. 

When purchasing real estate, the last thing anyone wants is legal liability. Clouds on titles create uncertainty and expose property owners to potential legal disputes, affecting a property’s value and making it difficult to sell. 

Situations that Call for a Quiet Title Action in NY

Quiet title lawsuits may be filed in state court to resolve any number of disputes. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, a dedicated real estate lawyer can determine the best way to proceed with a quiet title action and represent you in court.

Adverse Possession

In New York, a person can acquire title to real property through adverse possession if they openly, continuously, and exclusively occupy the property for at least ten years without the owner’s permission. A quiet title action may be necessary to establish the adverse possessor’s legal rights to the property and remove any cloud on the title.

Boundary Disputes

Disagreements with neighbors about the location of property boundaries can often lead to conflicting claims of ownership and other issues. A quiet title lawsuit can help resolve disputes by determining the correct boundary lines and clarifying the interests of the parties involved.

Incomplete or Defective Title Records

Errors in the chain of title, even minor ones, are often the root of legal issues and disputes. As such, the courts are often the best way to resolve defective title records, such as:

  • Missing or incomplete documents
  • Inadequate legal descriptions
  • Improperly executed deeds
  • Errors from previous transfers

While various mechanisms exist for resolving defective title records, some situations may call for a quiet title action.

Lien or Judgment Removal

Liens or judgments against property can severely taint a title and make it difficult for an owner to sell, transfer, or refinance a property. 

Quiet title actions can effectively refute or invalidate liens and judgments from previous owners or legal disputes affecting a property.

Heirship Disputes

Disagreements can arise among potential heirs or beneficiaries whenever a property owner dies without leaving a will or with a will that does not identify heirs. A New York quiet title action can help establish the rightful owner of a property and clear up conflicting claims.

Staten Island Real Estate Lawyers Can Resolve Title Disputes

Quiet title actions can be vital in resolving real estate disputes and ensuring property owners have clear, marketable titles. 

Merlino & Gonzalez represents real estate law matters across Staten Island. Connect with our attorneys today to learn how we can help you resolve your property’s title issues.

About the Author
John is a fierce advocate and the office guru for problem-solving and brainstorming. He guides clients through every stage of a real estate transaction from offer to contract, navigating through nerve-shattering home inspection and title clearance concerns, maintaining constant contact with lenders, conducting the actual closing, and continuing to advise clients with regard to any post-closing concerns.  John brings a practical and fair-minded approach to the process which has earned him the respect of his clients and peers.