A clean title report, which leads to the issuance of a title insurance policy, is your best protection against unforeseen title issues after you close your property purchase. However, when a preliminary title report review uncovers problems with the title to the property you are buying, or you find that you have a property title issue that you were not aware of when you purchased your property, it is time to consider hiring a real estate attorney with a successful track record of resolving title problems.
We are here to represent clients that are having difficulties in obtaining title insurance and correct errors in previously recorded deeds. To remove claims against your title, such as easements, deed restrictions, encroachments or mineral rights, our firm can prepare a quit claim deed for the appropriate party to sign. Or we can prepare a title transfer to clean up the title between family members or co-owners. Sometimes the solution to a title problem is to adjust the boundary line with a lot line adjustment.
Some issues require litigation, such as clearing a clouded title through a quiet title lawsuit. We can also file title insurance claims if you find yourself in a position where a title company has incorrectly searched the title to your property during escrow and issued a title insurance policy that does not properly reflect what is recorded.
Jointly owning property can sometimes be a messy business. Complex issues can arise when changing the legal status between owners or making vesting changes. To save yourself problems in the future, over who actually has control over the property, it is best to have a real estate attorney draw up co-ownership agreements, equity share agreements and title transfers.
When dealing with partners, consulting with an experienced real property attorney can help protect your rights and help keep you out of an ownership dispute. David R. Fischer can advise you with respect to partner buy outs, partnership dissolutions, partition actions (the court ordered sale or physical division of property) and forced sales.
The title to real property can become clouded for a variety of reasons. A neighbor's deed that is ambiguously worded, an old mortgage that was paid off years ago but never removed from the title, or an abandoned easement that still shows on title reports are good examples of matters that can cause a title to become clouded. Title companies may refuse to issue title insurance on a property with a clouded title.
To clear a clouded title, a quiet title lawsuit is often the best remedy to remove the documents causing the problem or to flush out claims on the title and remove them if justified. See more on quiet title lawsuits below.
Soon after you have signed a purchase agreement your escrow officer will begin the process of obtaining title insurance for your property. Title insurance protects you, the property buyer, and the mortgage holder from unknown title problems, such as errors in deeds and public records and unknown liens. We can assist with issues that may arise during escrow in obtaining title insurance, like getting items on a title report either removed or changed before the escrow closes, or obtaining endorsements to the title insurance policy in order to provide greater protection for a client.
Sometimes a title company will incorrectly search a title to a property during escrow, and issue a title insurance policy that does not properly reflect the state of the title at the County Recorder's Office. The most common occurrence is for a title company to miss a recorded easement. Examples of cases where we have brought a claim on a title policy include: missed access easement, Lafayette, CA; missed encroachment easement, Vallejo, CA; and missed pipeline easement, Brentwood, CA.
A quite title lawsuit, also known as quiet title action, is a lawsuit used to resolve issues clouding the title to real property, or to flush out claims on the title and remove them if justified. For example, quiet title actions can be used to transfer the title to a property in the case of adverse possession, remedy surveying errors, or clear up problems with boundary lines or easements. For example, we often file quiet title lawsuits in easement disputes, to clean up an old deed that was improperly written, or some other doubtful link in the chain of title that clouds the title to a property.
Once the court is convinced that the plaintiff owns the title and the defendant's claims are not justified, a quiet title judgment is granted which can be recorded and thus "quiet" any conflicting claims to the property's title.
A lot line adjustment is a realignment of property boundary lines to change the shape, size, and/or location of the property between the owners of two to four existing adjacent lots. With the assistance of a real property attorney, land can be taken from one parcel and added to an adjacent parcel as long as it does not create any additional parcels. Lot line adjustments must conform to the local general plan, any applicable specific or coastal plans, and zoning and building ordinances. Our office can prepare a new deed reflecting the changes, see that it is approved by your local planning authority where the property is located, and make sure that the deed is properly recorded.