The primary focus of a quiet title action is to establish ownership over a property. You may want to quiet a title in Arkansas when resolving issues and disputes on boundaries, inheritances, joint ownerships, invalid deeds, and adverse possessions.
In this article, an Arkansas real estate lawyer discusses common situations that could cause residential and commercial property owners to file a quiet title action and explains relevant state laws that may affect case outcomes.
Legal Reasons for Quieting an Arkansas Title
In a quiet title action, the petitioner asks a judge to determine property rights ownership and confirm boundary lines. If the petitioner is successful in court, the judge will grant them ownership over the land in question.
Here are five legal causes that may require a property owner to quiet a title in Arkansas:
Boundary by Acquiescence Issues
Boundary by acquiescence permits the legal recognition of boundary lines when an unspoken agreement exists among adjacent property owners. This situation typically arises when a physical boundary exists for a “long period” (usually seven years or more).
The conduct of both landowners infers ownership by a boundary line of acquiescence. It could also give one property owner legal rights over additional land. A quiet title action forces a judge to determine where the property line exists to claim or prevent the claiming of the relevant property.
When a family owns property and someone passes away without a will, it may take quieting the title to establish the proper legal ownership rights over the land and any structures on it.
Some other reasons why you may need to initiate a quiet title action involving an estate include:
- Unknown and missing heirs
- Missing or undiscovered wills
- Disputes over distributions
- Public record errors
- Lien and security issues
Settling an estate requires a probate judge to fairly bequeath property among heirs, regardless of whether an heir left behind a will. For the judge to accomplish this, they may need you to obtain a favorable judgment in a quiet title action. It’s important to get legal advice if you believe that this could apply to your situation.
In an ownership disagreement, a plaintiff requests that the court formally recognize their ownership over the relevant property or land. If the defendant answers the complaint and disputes the plaintiff’s allegations, both parties will need to build and present compelling cases telling their side of the story.
Broken Ownership Links
Property owners may need to quiet a title if there is a broken link in the chain of public records. These “broken links” usually manifest in the form of incorrect information. It’s critical that all information regarding property ownership is correct to ensure that ownership rights remain intact and to help property owners avoid false ownership claims in the future.
If someone sees a broken link in ownership, they can quiet the relevant title. Even if both parties involved are aware of clear ownership, the person with interest in obtaining it has the legal right to file a lawsuit and have a court hear their reasoning.
Adverse possessions allow someone to take ownership of a property if they meet specific conditions. These conditions are outside the scope of inheritances and fixing technical defects.
For someone to establish possession rights in Arkansas, they would have to show that they held the property for 7 years or more and paid taxes on it. If they satisfy adverse possession requirements, then they can file a claim on the property.
However, it is not easy to win an adverse possession case via a quiet title action. You will need to provide evidence of tax payments and open, continuous use of the land in question. It’s also a good idea to provide receipts and photographs of any improvements you made to the property over this period.
Get Legal Advice Before Quieting a Title in Arkansas
Some property issues and disputes are complex and may require legal advice to navigate effectively. Quieting a title in Arkansas requires you to form applied legal arguments and present admissible, discoverable evidence in court while following all procedural rules. A single misstep can prevent you from receiving property ownership rights through quieting a title.
Before filing a quiet title action in court, consult with the legal team at Milligan Law Offices. An Arkansas real estate lawyer will discuss your case with you, review all available evidence, and explain relevant laws that could affect the outcome of your situation.
Call Milligan Law Offices for an Initial Consultation
Quieting a title requires you to file a circuit court petition in the county of the property’s location. It’s important to confirm with a lawyer that you have a valid reason and sufficient evidence of ownership before petitioning the circuit court to quiet the title.
Contact our legal team for an initial consultation by calling (479) 783-2213 or messaging us online. Whether you decide to quiet a title or follow another route, we can assist in solidifying your property ownership rights.