When you buy or receive property, the true owner of the title may be in question. While there are several different reasons that may put the title in question, you can file a preemptive lawsuit against anyone that may have a claim to the title.
An action to quiet title settles your claim on a title against anyone with a possible challenge. This action clears the title of your property so that no one can try to claim ownership of it in the future.
Pennsylvania laws on quiet title actions
In Pennsylvania, you can file an action to quiet title to settle any disputes over the title to a piece of property. This can mean:
- Pushing another person with a possible claim on the title to take an action of ejectment against you.
- Pushing any parties with a possible claim or lien on the title to bring the proper paperwork forward to settle it or discharge it.
- Confirming the ownership of land bought from a tax sale or a judicial sale.
The state has further rules for quiet title actions on any land with oil, gas or coal rights.
How does the action to quiet title work?
When you file an action to quiet title, you file a lawsuit against any parties that may have a right to claim ownership on the property. You must list anyone with a possible claim as defendants for the court. The court then contacts the defendants to inform them of the lawsuit. After the defendants receive the notice, they have 30 days to challenge.
A court will hear any challenges to the action. Actions to quiet title do not have juries, so a judge will decide the case. If there are no challenges, the title automatically clears. Any defendants that don’t respond within 30 days automatically give up any claim on the title.
Clearing a title
Once a court clears your title, they consider you the rightful owner of the property. You can use or sell the land as the rightful owner. The parties with a possible claim can no longer try to challenge your ownership.
If you have some questions on the title to your property, make sure to speak with an attorney about filing an action to quiet title. An action to quiet title can make sure you have the full claim to your property.