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Quiet Title Law In California-
The purpose of a quiet title action is to establish title against
adverse claims to real property or any interest in the property.
[Code Civ. Proc. §760.020] The remedy of quiet title can
be combined with other causes of action or other remedies. In
an action or proceeding in which establishing or quieting title
to property is in issue, the court may, in its discretion and
on the motion of any party, require that the issue be resolved
pursuant to the Code Civ. Proc. provisions relating to quiet
title actions. [Code Civ. Proc. §760.030]
A quiet title action must be brought in the superior court
of the county in which the real property is located. Once the
action is before the court, the court has complete power to
determine title issues. [Code Civ. Proc. §§760.040,
A complaint to quiet title must be verified and must contain
all of the following information [Code Civ. Proc. §761.020]:
- a description of the property that is the subject of the
action. This must include both the legal description and
the street address or common designation, if any.
- the title of the plaintiff as to which a determination
of quiet title is sought. If the complaint is based on adverse
possession, the complaint must allege the specific facts
constituting the adverse possession.
- the adverse claims to plaintiff’s title.
- the date as of which the determination is sought. If the
determination is sought as of a date other than the date
the complaint is filed, the complaint must include a statement
of the reasons why a determination as of that date is sought.
- a prayer for the determination of plaintiff’s title
against the adverse claims.
The plaintiff must name as defendants all persons known or
unknown claiming an interest in the property. [Code Civ. Proc.
§§762.010, 762.020] Any person who claims an interest
in the property can join in the action, whether or not named
as a defendant. [Code Civ. Proc. §762.050]
Notice Of Pending Action
A notice of pendency of action is required in any quiet title
action. [Code Civ. Proc. §761.010]
A "notice of pendency of action" or "notice"
is a notice of the pendency of an action in which a real property
claim is alleged. [Code Civ. Proc. §405.2] Formerly known
as a "lis pendens", a notice of pendency of action
provides constructive notice to purchasers or encumbrancers
of real property of any pending actions affecting title to or
possession of the real property and enables those parties to
find notice of pending litigation in the recorder’s office
in which the real property is located. It furnishes the most
certain means of notifying all persons of the pendency of the
action and to warn them against any attempt to acquire a legal
or equitable interest in the real property.
A plaintiff seeking to quiet title against a person with legal
title to property has the burden of proving title by clear and
convincing proof, rather than by the preponderance of evidence
usually used in civil cases. [Evid. Code §662] Evidence
Code §662 does not apply when legal title itself is disputed.
In that case, factual issues are determined by the preponderance
of the evidence standard of proof.
An action to quiet title is an equitable action; there is no
right to a jury trial. Quiet title is generally an equitable
claim, and equitable defenses may be asserted against it. However,
if the plaintiff is out of possession and seeks to recover possession
by a quiet title action, the action is legal. [Medeiros v. Medeiros
(1960, 3rd Dist) 177 Cal App 2d 69, 1 Cal Rptr 696]
A judgment in an action to quiet title is binding and conclusive
on all persons known or unknown who were parties to the litigation
and who have a claim to the property. [Code Civ. Proc. §764.030]
The judgment will not affect title of a person who was not a
party to the action if their claim was of record or if the claim
was actually known, or should reasonably have been known, to
the plaintiff. [Code Civ. Proc. §764.045]