A quiet title action happens when the new owner of a Florida property files a lawsuit in court to invalidate all ownership rights of any third party who previously had an interest in the property. Keep reading to find out how to file a quiet title action in Florida.
Filing a Quiet Title Action in Florida – In Detail
Performing Title Search
The first step to file a quiet title action is to proceed with a title search to identify possible “clouds” attached to the title of a property.
During the title search, an expert attorney will examine public records and other documents to ensure that the title of the property is free of any issues that may jeopardize its legal ownership. Common issues found during Florida title searches include:
- Unknown heirs
- Potential missing interests
- Unpaid property taxes
- Improper or missing legal descriptions on the deed
- Recording errors
After performing an in-depth title search and issuing a report for review, your attorney can prepare a petition for a quiet title action.
Preparing and Submitting the Petition
Once the title clouds have been properly identified, it is time to prepare the petition and submit it to the appropriate court. After filing the petition, you must locate and serve all interested parties a copy of the action.
Any interested party has a 20-day deadline to respond to the action, counting from the day of receipt of the notice.
If one of the interested parties fails to respond within the set period, the court may enter a default against the parties. If any interested party responds within the 20-day timeframe, the process will involve an additional dispute before proceeding with the final hearing.
In either case, the last step is to submit a Motion for Final Judgment in court. Upon receipt of the motion, the court may set a date and time for the final hearing.
The Court’s Judgment
The date and time set for the final hearing will depend on the court’s calendar. In Florida, quiet title hearings are usually scheduled 30 days after the filing of the Motion for Final Judgment.
At the final hearing, the court will issue an official judgment clearing the title of the property of all encumbrances, liens, or third parties’ interests subject to the quiet title lawsuit. As long as your attorney represents you in the court proceedings, no physical presence is required at any court hearing.
Is it Possible to Determine the Timeframe of a Quiet Title Action in Florida?
The timeline involved in a quiet title action varies depending on:
- The number of parties involved in the lawsuit
- The time required to locate all the parties involved
- How long the plaintiff will need to address any contests against the action
In case the parties cannot be located, they must be served through publication in a local newspaper for a consecutive four-week period. If the parties involved are not hard to find, it is generally possible to complete the process within 60 days.