When buying or selling a property in Florida, it is essential to ensure that the title is clear and free of any issues affecting ownership rights. Unfortunately, title issues can arise even after a property has been purchased, leading to significant legal problems. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to understand the legal remedies available.
First, it is important to understand what a title issue is. A title issue is any problem with the ownership or transfer of a property’s title. This can include errors or omissions in the property’s legal description, outstanding liens or encumbrances, claims against the property by a third party or issues with the previous transfer of the property’s ownership.
If you discover a title issue with a property you own or are interested in purchasing, there are several legal remedies available, including:
- Quiet Title Action. A quiet title action is a legal proceeding to clear up any “cloud” on the title to the property. This path is usually sought when there is a dispute over ownership and a party is claiming an interest in the property adverse to the owner’s rights. This action seeks to “quiet” the title by establishing the rightful owner of the property.
- Title Insurance Claim. If you purchased title insurance, you can make a claim against your policy if a title issue arises. Title insurance is designed to protect the buyer and lender against losses resulting from defects in the title. The insurance company will either defend against the claim or compensate the policyholder for any loss.
- Rescission of Contract. If a title issue arises before closing on a property, the buyer may have the right to rescind the contract and receive a refund of their deposit. This remedy is only available if the title issue is significant enough to affect ownership rights.
- Breach of Warranty. If a seller has made warranties or guarantees about the title or ownership of the property, the buyer may have a claim for breach of warranty. The buyer can seek damages to compensate for any loss resulting from the breach of warranty.
- Lis Pendens. A lis pendens is a legal notice filed in the public records indicating that a lawsuit has been filed concerning the property. This remedy is often used in conjunction with a quiet title action to prevent the property from being sold or transferred until the lawsuit is resolved.
If you discover a title issue with a property in Florida, it is crucial to seek the advice of an experienced attorney to determine the best course of action for your particular situation. Those needing assistance with title issues may reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.