Quiet Title Actions
For most people, real property is the most valuable asset they own. While property ownership grants with it certain rights to its owner, occasionally more than one person may claim an interest in that property restricting those rights. Conflicting claims of ownership create an unclear title to the property which is commonly referred to as a clouded title.
Without clear title, owners are often unable to sell, refinance or even borrow against the property. With some issues such as a shed, you may not be able to secure permits to rebuild a garage if it’s discovered it’s not completely on your property. Often, it’s not until trying to exercise property rights that a cloud on a title and the complications that come with it become apparent. Discovering complications regarding property rights is not only shocking, but it can be much more stressful when you’re in the midst of exercising your property rights. However, a clouded title does not mean you no longer have rights to the property so it’s important to understand your options in these situations to protect your rights.
There are a variety of ways in which title can become clouded. Some common situations are unclear recording histories regarding the property, multiple transfers from the same grantor, breaks in chain of title, mortgages or liens on the property, other encumbrances on the property, or there may be disputes regarding only a portion of the property, such as with boundary disputes that can arise where a fence or outbuilding such as a shed encroaches onto an adjacent property. These situations all lead to a clouded title that can affect an owner’s property rights.
Michigan law does provide a way to address competing claims of property interests. Under MCL 600.2932, a person who claims an interest in property may bring an action against any other person who claims or may claim any interest inconsistent with the plaintiff’s claimed interest to settle the property interest dispute. This is referred to as an action to quiet the title. Michigan courts are required to resolve the dispute and make a final determination as to who, among the competing claims, has the rightful ownership interest. A quiet title action is not creating an interest in the property, but merely resolving claims regarding interests that already exist. In other words, a person needs to already have an interest in the property, whether it be through deed, easement, acquiescence, adverse possession, or some other property rights that gives them an interest in the land in order to pursue a quiet title action.
To successfully quiet title on a property, a plaintiff must show the court that their claim of ownership is superior to all other claims. When filing suit, a plaintiff must name all other persons claiming interest in the property. This is very important as a notice of a suit and the subsequent opportunity to be heard is an important concept in our legal system. Once title to a property is quieted, all potential challenges are precluded and the owner will be able to exercise their full property rights.
If you believe your property rights are being affected, it is important to have an experienced real estate attorney handle these issues to ensure that your valuable property rights are protected. Please contact the Law Offices of Kathryn M. Wayne-Spindler, P.C. at (248) 676-1000 to discuss your property rights today.
The attorneys at Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates are experienced attorneys who change with the times to meet the needs of their clients. Contact the Milford, Michigan law office of Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates at 248-676-1000 for assistance. The attorneys of Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates practice law throughout Southeastern Michigan including Oakland, Wayne, Washtenaw, Genesee and Livingston counties as well as four mid-Michigan counties Clare, Gladwin, Ogemaw and Roscommon. The attorneys handle cases in Milford; Highland; Hartland; White Lake; Wixom; Commerce; Walled Lake; Waterford; West Bloomfield; Linden; Fenton; Flint; Grand Blanc; Holly; South Lyon; New Hudson; Howell; Clare; Gladwin; Houghton Lake; Higgins Lake; and many more Michigan communities.