When someone sells real property, what they actually transfer is title rights. The name on the title records for the property determines who is responsible for taxes and has authority over a property. Title records can also grant third parties access if they have an easement. Title concerns can even prevent the sale or refinancing of a property if someone still owes a secured debt on a property.
A title search is typically part of any transaction involving real property. Those buying real estate must conduct a title search to determine that the seller actually has the authority to transfer ownership to them. Occasionally, blemishes with a property’s title can delay or even lead to the cancellation of a real estate transaction. Discovering a title blemish can be a real shock to a property owner. Sometimes, the New York courts can help resolve title issues.
Quiet title proceedings can remove inaccurate information
Simply being unhappy with the information that turns up during a title search would not justify the decision to take legal action. However, if people can prove that the information returned by a title search is inaccurate, then they may have grounds to go to court.
Someone filing a quiet title action asks a New York judge to review certain information and correct title records. For example, perhaps there is a mechanics lien from years ago or a second mortgage that still shows up on record. Proof of payment or a letter affirming that someone had resolved their financial obligations could be sufficient reason for a judge to remove a lien from title records.
Other times, there could be an outdated easement that no longer applies or a previous owner still showing up on record. Death certificates, records of other real estate transactions and deeds executed but perhaps not properly recorded could all help convince a judge to remove a prior owner from title records or eliminate other inaccuracies, like outdated easements.
So long as there is sufficient evidence affirming someone’s position on the matter, a judge can potentially address any significant title issue that could affect someone’s use or control of real property in New York. Those who know there is an issue with the title for their property might benefit from taking proactive steps by initiating a quiet title action before they begin the refinancing process or list their property for sale as a result.