Quiet Title Actions in Oklahoma – Explained by Real Estate Attorney
What is a quiet title action?
A quiet title action is a type of lawsuit, filed in Oklahoma courts, where parties can seek to cure issues that arise in the chain of title to real estate. The issues addressed in a quiet title action can be relatively recent, could have existed for decades, or could have compounded over generations. The issues which make a quiet title action necessary primarily arise on residential properties, but could arise on any type of property, including commercial properties.
What is the purpose of a quiet title action?
There are many reasons that a quiet title lawsuit may be necessary or helpful. The most frequent uses for a quiet title action are:
The title report or title commitment, provided by the title company, shows a requirement for a quiet title action before the title company will issue a title insurance policy (which in turn holds up closing)
A buyer finds an issue with the legal title during the due diligence phase of a real estate contract (see our article on due diligence here)
The property’s chain of title has inconsistencies
The person attempting to sell a property is not named on the most recent deed
A stray lien or mortgage filing should be invalidated (see our article on Oklahoma property liens here)
An encroaching fence or other item is placed on the wrong side of a boundary line (see our article on boundary fence encroachments here)
You bought a property at a tax sale auction (see our article on tax sale quiet titles here)
Depending on your goals of the quiet title action (to clear one specific cloud on title, or to obtain fully marketable title), the lawsuit may need to include more than one of the types of claims listed above.
Do I need a quiet title action?
Our firm frequently reviews title commitments, historic title records, and other documentation to determine whether a quiet title action is actually necessary or advisable. If the title company or our firm find an issue which requires a quiet title action to be completed, we can take quick action to begin resolving the problem. Sometimes, there may be another course of action or type of lawsuit which is faster or more effective than a quiet title action in Oklahoma courts.
What about tax sale quiet titles?
A “tax sale” is a public auction of properties which have unpaid property taxes for three consecutive years as determined by the appropriate county office. In Oklahoma, title companies require a quiet title action after a tax sale (a county tax assessor or county treasurer resale auction) before closing a subsequent transaction on an auctioned property.
Once the buyer wins the tax sale auction for a property, the title to that property is not marketable; this means that future sales or refinancing of the property will be delayed until a quiet title action is completed in the buyer’s favor. Our firm always provides easy-to-understand flat fee rates for tax sale quiet title actions. Learn more about tax sale quiet titles here.
Who pays for a quiet title action?
Typically, the party who is responsible for conveying title (the seller) is responsible, as one party usually has the obligation to deliver “marketable” title. However, if the seller previously obtained a title insurance policy for the subject property, the title company may have an obligation to pay for the curative title work.
Can I recover my attorney fees in a quiet title lawsuit?
You may be able to recover attorney fees for a quiet title action depending on your title insurance policy and terms, your contract terms, and other factors relevant to your specific property. There are Oklahoma statutes which shift attorney fees to the opposing party in certain scenarios, but this may require you to take specific actions before filing your claim with the court.
Will I have to do anything else after a quiet title action?
In some circumstances, an eviction or other legal action may be required after the quiet title lawsuit is complete. However, it may be possible to pursue an eviction and quiet title simultaneously to save time and expedite the process.
How long does a quiet title action take?
For uncontested quiet title actions in Oklahoma (where the defendants do not object to the relief requested by the plaintiff), judgment can usually be obtained within 90-120 days, if not less. For contested quiet title actions in Oklahoma (where the defendants exercise their right to respond to the action and argue why legal title should not be quieted and confirmed in the plaintiff’s favor), these actions tend to operate more like normal lawsuits and can take many months to complete, if not more, depending on the validity of the claims of the parties.
Get Trusted Quiet Title Counsel.
Contact Avenue Legal Group to discuss title report reviews, quiet title actions, and other curative title services.