In the United States, and in South Carolina, our real property records have a higher degree of trustworthiness than real estate records in other countries. When there is a defect in title, a person or entity can bring a “quiet title action” to cure such defects by requiring a court to eliminate any other interest claimed by other persons or entities. Such defects in record title can arise out of missing or deceased parties with rights to the property. Quiet title actions are also used to create a new chain of title after tax sales or for title established as a result of adverse possession (a method of acquiring title to land by openly taking possession of and using another’s property for a certain period of time) or accretion (an increase or extension of land by natural forces, such as waves, currents, and winds).
Typically, a quiet title action is brought against both known and unknown parties. Known parties are those having possession of the property, some record interest in title, or a potential claim regarding the property. Unknown parties may claim an interest in the property derivative of the named parties or as a result of the lawsuit’s subject matter. Because these parties are unknown, they are given notice of the lawsuit by publication of the claim in local newspapers.
Quiet title actions are either uncontested or contested. If the matter is uncontested, the claimant obtains quitclaim deeds (deeds in which the grantor surrenders title, if any, to a parcel of property) from the defendants and records these deeds with the real property records of the county where the property is located. If the named defendants contest the claims, they must produce evidence at trial showing that their title to the property is superior to the plaintiff’s title. At the end of the trial, the court issues a written order which quiets title in the name of the prevailing party. That order is then recorded in the real property records of the county where the property is located and becomes part of the “chain of title.”
Lawyers in Charleston for Real Estate Disputes
The Charleston Lawyers at Futeral & Nelson, LLC help those who have property disputes in Charleston, North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, Goose Creek, Hanahan, Moncks Corner, James Island, West Ashley, Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, Awendaw, McClellanville and the surrounding areas.