Florida Quiet Title Actions
Larry Is A Real Estate Lawyer Who Can Help Clear Title To Your Property
Removing Clouds on The Chain of Title
In Florida, when someone has “title” to land or real estate, it means under the law he or she has legal ownership to that property. Protecting the integrity of title to real estate is a serious matter in Florida, and laws have been on the books for many years relating to quieting title, protecting land records, and transferring real estate from one owner to another.
There are places in Florida where title records actually go back in time to real estate files with scanned handwritten real estate records on parchment dating back to Spanish land grants. (To explore the Florida land records online, or to see one of those parchment-era records, search through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Division of State Lands, Board of Trustees Land Document System.)
Unfortunately, the Foreclosure Fraud mess of the past harmed the integrity of this longstanding legal title system since mortgage servicers, banks, and others have injured and disregarded longstanding Florida real estate title laws though actions like robosigning, lost original documentation, etc.
As a result, today’s Florida real estate title transfers (sales, devise and descent, etc.) are happening with unprecedented care and concern. Quiet title actions are more important now than ever before.
What is a Quiet Title Action under Florida Law?
Chapter 65 of the Florida Statutes (entitled “Quieting Title” – the full text appears below) governs quiet title actions in Florida. The law specifies how a quiet title action should proceed in Florida.
According to the statute, a civil lawsuit is to be filed in chancery or circuit court and, if the property owner can prove the grounds outlined in Florida Statute Section 65.021, then the court will issue a written judgment signed by the judge hearing the case. Once a judgment is entered, it is then recorded in the real property records. This judgment has several effects on real estate, as it removes the cloud on title and “quiets” the title to the property.
For example, the judgment can revoke any improper conveyance of the property and/or remove any claim or interest in the title. However, quieting title doesn’t provide for money awards or damages to be paid to the property owner; instead, it only clears title to land and remove any clouds on title to Florida real estate. For money claims, a separate lawsuit will likely have to be filed based upon contract law, tort law (fraud or slander of title), and the like.
Will a Florida Quiet Title Action Always Clear a Cloud or Claim on Title to Florida Real Estate?
It can be very painful for Florida home owners, but even after they have successfully obtained a Quiet Title Judgment, there still may be claims against their property that their Judgment doesn’t address. Examples include if the property owner has opted to file the action on his/her own, or he/she has chosen to use an online service to file the quiet title lawsuit, where a thorough title search was not conducted before filing.
In other words, a Florida Quiet Title action may not clear up all claims to Florida real estate title. For instance, a Federal Tax Lien will likely survive a quiet title action, even if properly served. Additionally, as a result of the Foreclosure Fraud issues, there may be other parties who may have an interest in the property whose rights were not cut-off by the quiet title lawsuit.
Furthermore, a bank may later assert that its mortgage lien has survived a quiet title action (because it wasn't served). Condominium associations may also make claims against real estate even after a quiet title judgment has been issued because their interests are protected by Florida statutory law.
Sloppy online property records may not show all of the claims against the property. Moreover, these records may not indicate that all of the debts to a property have been satisfied or paid-off, violations of local ordinances have been addressed, or a bankruptcy was properly discharged against a party in the chain of title.
What About Title Insurance?
Having a title insurance policy only means that the title was insurable; it doesn't mean that there are no claims against the property. A title insurance policy just means a title insurance company is willing to issue insurance at the right price.
This is why an experienced Florida real estate lawyer is needed - he or she will examine the chain of title to determine the parties to include in the Quiet Title action.
In today’s complex real estate market, it is important for a Florida Quiet Title Action to be comprehensive and proceed after a detailed investigation and legal research has occurred to ensure that all potential claims to the real estate have been brought before the judge and that there are no potential claims or scams – like “wild deeds” – out there.
A Florida Quiet Title Action will not lead to marketable or insurable title to real estate unless and until:
→ Call Florida Real Estate Attorney Larry Tolchinsky today to see how he can help you with your quiet title action and clearing the clouds on title to your Florida real estate.
Sample Quiet Title Lawsuit
We have attached a sample quiet title lawsuit which provides a true sense of the work involved in a Florida quiet title case.
Why a Quiet Title Action with Florida Lawyer Larry Tolchinsky?
Larry Tolchinsky practices in Hallandale, Florida office where he strives to create an informal atmosphere so you know you have access to him, and that your concerns will be heard and addressed.
While you deal with the frustrations and uncertainties in making sure you gain clear title to your real estate, it is important to have the counsel of a Florida real estate attorney who will be there for you -- and who will return your calls when you have a question or two and explain your options.
Larry has extensive experience in real estate matters (more than 20 years) and he is familiar with the issues that can affect the chain of title to Florida real estate. He’s handled many real estate matters in various counties throughout the State of Florida, and he understands how unique your situation may be.
Contact Larry to find out how he can help you. You can contact him by phone at 954-458-8655 or by e-mail through this web site to schedule an appointment so he can help you with your title. He offers a free initial consultation.
Want to Know More?
To learn more from Larry and to see all of the real estate matters he can help with, read his Real Estate Lawyer page.
We provide quiet title representation for clients owning property in Hallandale, Miramar, Hollywood, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Weston, Davie, North Miami Beach, Dania Beach and all other cities in Miami-Dade and Broward County and throughout Florida.
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Please feel free to fill out the “Talk With Us” form above for a free case evaluation or to ask any questions or just give Larry a call at (954) 458-8655.
Do you want to read more about Quiet Title issues?
Check out Larry’s discussion of various Florida quiet title issues and read the language of the statutes enacted by the Florida Legislature ….
→ Read Larry’s Discussions Related to Florida Quiet Title Issues | AboutFloridaLaw.com
→ Read the Law | FLORIDA STATUTES: CHAPTER 65 - QUIETING TITLE
65.011 Real estate; certain jurisdiction over.—Chancery courts have jurisdiction of actions by any person or corporation claiming to own any land or part thereof, or by two or more claiming to own the same land or part thereof under a common title against more than one person or corporation occupying or claiming title to the land or part thereof adversely to plaintiff, whether defendants claim or hold under a common title or not; and shall determine the title of plaintiff as against defendants and enter judgment quieting the title of, and awarding possession to, the plaintiff entitled thereto and may enter injunctions, temporary or perpetual, appoint receivers, and enter such orders about costs as are necessary to protect the rights of the parties.
History.—s. 1, ch. 3884, 1889; RS 1500; GS 1949; RGS 3212; CGL 5004; s. 20, ch. 67-254.
Note.—Former s. 66.10.
65.021 Real estate; removing clouds.—Chancery courts have jurisdiction of actions brought by any person or corporation, whether in actual possession or not, claiming legal or equitable title to land against any person or corporation not in actual possession, who has, appears to have or claims an adverse legal or equitable estate, interest, or claim therein to determine such estate, interest, or claim and quiet or remove clouds from the title to the land. It is no bar to relief that the title has not been litigated at law or that there is only one litigant to each side of the controversy or that the adverse claim, estate, or interest is void upon its face, or though not void on its face, requires extrinsic evidence to establish its validity.
History.—s. 1, ch. 4739, 1899; GS 1950; RGS 3213; s. 1, ch. 10223, 1925; CGL 5005; s. 2, ch. 29737, 1955; s. 20, ch. 67-254.
Note.—Former s. 66.11.
65.031 Real estate; removing clouds; plaintiffs.—An action in chancery for quieting title to, or clearing a cloud from, land may be maintained in the name of the owner or of any prior owner who warranted the title. All lands, the title to which is subject to a common defect, may be embraced in one action irrespective of the number of existing legal or equitable owners.
History.—s. 1, ch. 10221, 1925; CGL 5006; s. 20, ch. 67-254.
Note.—Former s. 66.12.
65.041 Real estate; removing clouds; defendants.—No person not a party to the action is bound by any judgment rendered adverse to his or her interest, but any judgment favorable to the person inures to that person’s benefit to the extent of his or her legal or equitable title.
History.—s. 2, ch. 10221, 1925; CGL 5007; s. 20, ch. 67-254; s. 345, ch. 95-147.
Note.—Former s. 66.13.
65.051 Real estate; removing clouds; joinder.—Two or more persons who are interested in removing a cloud from or quieting title to land as against the same clouds or adverse claims may join as plaintiffs in a single action to remove such clouds or quiet the title, although their interests relate to separate lands or parts thereof.
History.—s. 1, ch. 10222, 1925; CGL 5008; s. 2, ch. 29737, 1955; s. 20, ch. 67-254.
Note.—Former s. 66.14.
65.061 Quieting title; additional remedy.—
(1) JURISDICTION.—Chancery courts have jurisdiction of actions by any person or corporation claiming legal or equitable title to any land, or part thereof, or when any two or more persons claim to own the same land, or any part thereof under a common title against all persons or corporations claiming title to or occupying the land adversely to plaintiff, whether defendants claim or hold under a common title or not, and shall determine the title of plaintiff and may enter judgment quieting the title and awarding possession to the party entitled thereto, but if any defendant is in actual possession of any part of the land, a trial by jury may be demanded by any party, whereupon the court shall order an issue in ejectment as to such lands to be made and tried by a jury. Provision for trial by jury does not affect the action on any lands that are not claimed to be in the actual possession of any defendant. The court may enter final judgment without awaiting the determination of the ejectment action.
(2) GROUNDS.—When a person or corporation not the rightful owner of land has any conveyance or other evidence of title thereto, or asserts any claim, or pretends to have any right or title thereto, which may cast a cloud on the title of the real owner, or when any person or corporation is the true and equitable owner of land the record title to which is not in the person or corporation because of the defective execution of any deed or mortgage because of the omission of a seal thereon, the lack of witnesses, or any defect or omission in the wording of the acknowledgment of a party or parties thereto, when the person or corporation claims title thereto by the defective instrument and the defective instrument was apparently made and delivered by the grantor to convey or mortgage the real estate and was recorded in the county where the land lies, or when possession of the land has been held by any person or corporation adverse to the record owner thereof or his or her heirs and assigns until such adverse possession has ripened into a good title under the statutes of this state, such person or corporation may file complaint in any county in which any part of the land is situated to have the conveyance or other evidence of claim or title canceled and the cloud removed from the title and to have his or her title quieted, whether such real owner is in possession or not or is threatened to be disturbed in his or her possession or not, and whether defendant is a resident of this state or not, and whether the title has been litigated at law or not, and whether the adverse claim or title or interest is void on its face or not, or if not void on its face that it may require extrinsic evidence to establish its validity. A guardian ad litem shall not be appointed unless it shall affirmatively appear that the interest of minors, persons of unsound mind, or convicts are involved.
(3) DERAIGNMENT OF TITLE.—The plaintiff shall deraign his or her title from the original source or for a period of at least 7 years before filing the complaint unless the court otherwise directs, setting forth the book and page of the records where any instrument affecting the title is recorded, if it is recorded, unless plaintiff claims from a common source with defendant.
(4) JUDGMENT.—If it appears that plaintiff has legal title to the land or is the equitable owner thereof based on one or more of the grounds mentioned in subsection (2), or if a default is entered against defendant (in which case no evidence need be taken), the court shall enter judgment removing the alleged cloud from the title to the land and forever quieting the title in plaintiff and those claiming under him or her since the commencement of the action and adjudging plaintiff to have a good fee simple title to said land or the interest thereby cleared of cloud.
(5) RECORDING FINAL JUDGMENTS.—All final judgments may be recorded in the county or counties in which the land is situated and operate to vest title in like manner as though a conveyance were executed by a special magistrate or commissioner.
(6) OPERATION.—This section is cumulative to other existing remedies.
History.—ss. 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, ch. 11383, 1925; CGL 5010, 5011, 5014, 5015, 5017, 5018; s. 1, ch. 24293, 1947; s. 2, ch. 29737, 1955; s. 20, ch. 67-254; s. 1, ch. 70-278; s. 346, ch. 95-147; s. 56, ch. 2004-11.
Note.—Former ss. 66.16, 66.17, 66.20, 66.21, 66.23, 66.24.
165.071 Quieting title; deeds without joinder of wife when separated for 30 years.—An action in chancery may be brought to quiet title to land to preclude any wife from claiming dower or any heirs from claiming any interest to land when the following facts exist:
(1) When any husband and wife have not cohabited as husband and wife for 30 years or more and during this time the husband has conveyed land as a single man and the land has come into the hands of purchasers for a valuable consideration without notice that the husband was married at the time he conveyed the land, and the purchasers have relied on the acknowledgment to deeds by the husband that he was a single man, and it afterwards became known that he was a married man at the time he deeded the land and his marriage has never been dissolved and he refuses to voluntarily get a dissolution of marriage to clear the title to preclude his wife from claiming any inchoate dower therein and his heirs from claiming any interest therein and when the wife has never lived in the county where the land is located with the husband as his wife and has never asserted any inchoate right to dower in the land, the inchoate right to dower is divested and is a cloud on the title to the land and the purchaser of the land has the right to remove the cloud and to prevent the wife or heirs from claiming any dower or other interest from such purchasers and their successors in title.
(2) When these facts are proven, the court shall adjudge that the wife and heirs of the husband are forever barred and perpetually enjoined from claiming any interest in the land arising out of dower or otherwise, and that the wife did not join in the execution of the deeds by which the husband deeded the land as a single man under the facts above-stated is not effective to reserve an inchoate right of dower in the land held by such purchasers.
History.—ss. 1, 2, ch. 19116, 1939; CGL 5011(1), (2); s. 2, ch. 29737, 1955; s. 20, ch. 67-254; s. 1, ch. 73-300.
1Note.—Chapter 73-107 abolished the right of dower in property transferred prior to death. See also s. 732.111.
Note.—Former s. 66.25.
65.081 Tax titles; quieting title.—
(1) PARTIES.—Any grantee under any tax deed issued by the state, or any municipality or other political subdivision thereof, or any purchaser from the state, or any municipality or other political subdivision thereof, of any land the title to which has been acquired by this state or such municipality or political subdivision through any proceeding or foreclosure for the nonpayment of taxes or special assessments, or the successor in title to the grantee or purchaser, may maintain an action in chancery to quiet title to the land included in the tax deed, or so purchased against the holder of the record title to the land, and against any other person or corporation claiming any interest in the land or any lien or encumbrance thereon, before issuance of the tax deed or before the loss of title to the land in the tax proceeding or foreclosure.
(2) DERAIGNING TITLE.—Actions may be maintained hereunder whether or not plaintiff is in possession of the land involved but when defendant is in actual possession of the land a jury trial may be had as provided in other actions to quiet title. When the action is based on a tax deed, the complaint need not deraign title beyond the issuance of the tax deed. When the action is based on a conveyance by this state, or any municipality or other political subdivision thereof, of land the title to which it has acquired through a foreclosure or other proceeding for the nonpayment of taxes, the complaint need not deraign title beyond the deed or other instrument or act vesting title in the state or municipality or other political subdivision of the state.
(3) WHEN TAXES HAVE BEEN PAID.—No defense to the action or attack upon the tax deed shall be made except the defense that the taxes assessed against the property had been paid by the former owner before issuance of the tax deed.
(4) WHEN TAX DEED HAS BEEN ISSUED BEFORE CONVEYANCE BY SOVEREIGN.—No defense shall be made to the action because of assessment of the property or issuance of the tax deed before the United States or the state has parted with title to the property, and no other attack shall be made on it, except the defense that the taxes assessed against the property had been paid by the person, or a claimant under him or her, to whom the United States patent or conveyance from the state was issued before the issuance of the tax deed.
History.—ss. 1, 2, ch. 21822, 1943; s. 2, ch. 29737, 1955; s. 20, ch. 67-254; s. 29, ch. 74-382; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 347, ch. 95-147.
Note.—Former ss. 66.26, 66.27.
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