In real estate law, a quiet title is a type of legal case that determines the rightful owner of real property. These cases are filed with the goal of defining or settling disputes over who owns the title for a piece of real estate. Here are some basics about how quiet title actions work and common problems they can be used to resolve.

How They Work

The process of seeking a quiet title action can be lengthy and complex, so it is always a good idea to consult a lawyer who practices real estate law. The first step involves filing a legal action in the county where the property is located. 

real estate law

The clerk of court will issue service to the defendant in the case; this can be the most time-consuming step, as defendants—whether they're creditors, beneficiaries, or anyone else with an interest in the property—can be virtually anywhere, so it may take time to track them down. Then, the defendant responds to the action by a certain date. If a defendant doesn't respond or contest ownership, the action typically moves directly to judgment. 

But if a defendant responds, you and your attorney may be able to negotiate with them to resolve the issue. Only when negotiations are unsuccessful does the case move into litigation. After litigation or settlement, the judgment is recorded, and the order is delivered to the title company, who will issue a new title in the rightful owner's name.

Common Problems

Quiet title actions can be utilized to settle several common ownership problems. Examples include:

  • Establishing rightful ownership after the death of the previous owner, especially in situations where it isn't certain if heirs to the previous owner's estate have all been notified about the sale
  • Clearing up disputes with the prior mortgage lender if their interest in the property wasn't effectively resolved with the loan payoff
  • Transferring interest in the property with a quitclaim deed, in which the prior owner claims no interest in the home but, at the same time, cannot guarantee a clear title


A quiet title issue can be challenging to navigate on your own. The real estate law attorneys at Morrow, Gordon & Byrd, Ltd. are here to help. Since 1933, they have been serving the New Albany and Westerville, OH, areas. They offer representation in real estate, estate and probate, and business law matters. Call (740) 345-9611 to schedule a consultation or visit them online to learn more about their team.