What is a quiet title action in Arizona?

Filing a quiet title claim can be beneficial for someone seeking outright ownership to property or who wishes to right a wrong.

A few years ago, a man paid the delinquent taxes for and applied for quiet title of an Arizona property. According to Legal News Line, a trial court granted the ownership of the property to the man. However, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. and several other parties objected, noting they still had an interest in the property that was established before the man paid the taxes. The appeals court agreed and granted the title to MERS.

This case illustrates a quiet title issue and what can happen if the matter is not handled appropriately.

The basics

It is a common problem for several parties to have an interest in a piece of property and for a dispute to ensue over who the rightful owner may be. It is also possible that errors occurred related to the title. One party can file what is known as a "quiet title" lawsuit, which often happens when one or more of the following situations is present:

Homeowners and other people vested in a property may also run into issues, such as when a document has not been recorded properly. Through filing a quiet title suit, rightful ownership may be granted and therefore "quiet" any claims that could be brought concerning other parties seeking ownership.

Why these suits are beneficial

After winning a quiet title claim, the property owner may be able to do a number of things, such as getting rid of defects related to the title, such as a lien or judgment. Certain claims may be removed as well, such as adverse possession and constructive trust issues.

How these claims work

Arizona code clearly states that anyone who has an interest in the property can bring a quiet title claim. As illustrated in the case above, the man had an interest in the property because he paid the taxes on it. The person who brings the suit must demonstrate why he or she is entitled to the property. Further, the plaintiff must discuss the defendant's claims to the property and why they are adverse to the plaintiff's claims.

It may be necessary to let the county recorder know that a lawsuit is pending through filing a lis pendens claim. This could stop a defendant from transferring the property. Once a lis pendens is filed, the title is essentially frozen, which means no action can be taken.

In many cases, quiet title actions are linked to other real estate disputes or legal matters. Anyone who has concerns about this topic should speak with a real estate attorney in Arizona.