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What Is the Burden of Proof for a Quiet Title Action in California?

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Property disputes can be stressful and complex. That’s where quiet title actions come in. A quiet title action aims to clear the title of any questions or concerns about anything that affects the property‚Äôs marketability. For example, if you purchased a property and someone claims the seller had no legal right to sell it because they didn’t own it, you may want to file a quiet title action.

These actions also remove any clouds on the title, a claim, or an encumbrance affecting the property. For example, if a mortgage still on the title was already paid, causing a recorded lien on the property, that would be a cloud on the title. Having a cloud on the title can result in a lot of confusion and uncertainty about actual ownership.

Therefore, quiet title actions help clear these title issues, making the property more marketable.

Who Can Bring a Quiet Title Action in California?

Anyone who has an interest in real property can bring a quiet title action. This means if you own property, someone is claiming to own your property, or if there is a lien or encumbrance on your property you have an interest in, you can bring a quiet title action. For example, you may want to file a quiet title action if there are:

  • Boundary disputes: These disputes usually arise when adjoining property owners disagree on the boundary line between their properties. A quiet title action can resolve this dispute by clarifying the boundary line.
  • Errors on a deed: Sometimes, deeds have errors, such as misspelled names or property descriptions. When these errors occur, a quiet title action can correct them.
  • Easements: When there are easements on your property, you must fully understand your rights concerning the easement areas. If you need to establish your obligations and rights for an easement area, a quiet title action can help.
  • Claims by lien-holders: Sometimes, a lien is placed against real property for unpaid taxes or by mistake. If your property has a wrongful lien, a quiet title action can resolve the issue.

What Is the Burden of Proof?

The burden of proof in a quiet title action is on the plaintiff in California. This means the person who files the quiet title action lawsuit must prove their case with clear and convincing evidence. This means you must make the court firmly believe your claim is correct. To do this, you can use a variety of evidence. Some examples of evidence that may help you meet the clear and convincing burden of proof standard include:

  • Deeds
  • Wills
  • Surveys
  • Title reports
  • Witnesses
  • Contracts
  • Leases
  • Court orders

If you have any of these showing your ownership, you should gather them and use them as evidence in your case.

Who Is Bound by the Judgment?

In California, anyone named in action and who has a claim to the property will be bound by the court’s judgment. However, if you fail to name a party whose claim is recorded or known, they will not be bound by the determination. Therefore, it is essential to name everyone you know who has a claim or recorded their claim to the property.

Contact Wagner Zemming Christensen, LLP, for Help Today!

If you’re involved in a property dispute, consult the real estate attorneys of Wagner Zemming Christensen, LLP. We can review your case using our four decades of experience and help determine the best course of action. Call us today at 951-686-4800 for a confidential case evaluation.

 

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