Deeds are legal documents which transfer the ownership of a piece of property or residence from one individual to another individual. A physical deed document will usually describe, in writing, the exact location of the property.

The deed will also include the names of any former owners of the property as well as the names of the new owners of the property. There are numerous different types of deeds which may be utilized to transfer ownership of a property from one individual to another.

All deeds are required to be signed by the individual who is transferring the property to the new owner or owners. In addition, that signature must be notarized in order to prove that the ownership transfer is, in fact, valid.

A deed of title, also called a title deed, is a specific legal document which transfers the title of real estate from one individual to another. With this document, full ownership of a piece of real estate is given from the old owner to the new owner.

Typically, this type of transfer would occur through a traditional real estate sale. It is important to note, however, that titles may also be transferred by other means.

For example, titles may be transferred when an individual gifts a piece of property to another individual. In the majority of cases, a deed of title is classified as a general warranty deed.

A general warranty deed is a specific type of deed in which the individual who owns the property guarantees that they, in fact, hold a clear title to that piece of real estate. This means that the owner is not only guaranteeing that they received a clear title from the previous owner of the property but that, in addition, no other individuals retain any interest in the property.

General warranty deeds are utilized for the majority of real estate deed transfers because they provide the greatest amount of protection of all of the types of deeds. In some states, they may be known as grant deeds.

It is important to note that a deed of title should not be confused with a deed of trust. A deed of trust is a legal document which grants a lender or a mortgage lender a lien on a property if a debt is owed.

What is the Difference Between a Deed and a Title?

An actual deed document and having the title to a piece of property are slightly different concepts. Deeds are the actual legal instruments or written documents which convey the ownership of property from one individual to another.

When an individual is purchasing a home, they will be signing the deed to that home. That deed then creates their right to claim ownership of that house.

The title refers to a legal relationship between an individual and the land which they own. The title creates rights which are specific to a piece of property.

An example of this would include getting a loan from a bank to purchase property. A bank will hold title to the piece of property until that loan has been paid off in full. At that time, the bank will then transfer the title to the property to the borrower.

How is a Transfer of Title Completed?

Regardless of how a new owner comes to obtain title to a property, the deed of title must be referenced and recorded at the county recorder’s office where the property is located. Doing this creates a written record of a property transfer and may be used to prevent a legal dispute in the future.

A deed must also be recorded for title searches and for certainty of title. Title searches provide interested parties with important information regarding the property, which can include the chain of ownership of the property.

Title searches will also reveal any information regarding encumbrances, such as liens. By recording a deed, the property owner is granted certainty of title. This means that the recorded deed provides a certain amount of assurance that a property owner does indeed own the premises.

In addition, recording the deed provides assurance that the property owner’s rights are secured against legal challenges.

What is Slander of Title?

Slander of title occurs when an individual intentionally writes or speaks something negative and untrue which injures another individual’s title to property and causes damages to that title holder. If an individual engages in this activity, they may be liable for damages associated with the slander of title.

What Are the Elements of Slander of Title?

In general, an individual must show certain elements in order to bring a claim of slander of title, including:

  • There was a communication to a third party of;
  • A false statement;
  • Derogatory to another individual’s title;
  • With malice;
  • Causing special damages.

Publication related to a slander of title claim typically refers to recording a false claim against the property of the plaintiff in some type of public record, such as a mechanic’s lien. A publication includes any communication which is made by a defendant to an individual other than the plaintiff, or property owner.

What Does Malice Mean?

Typically, malice means having an intent to cause harm. However, in the context of slander of title, malice can be proven by showing that the individual who made the statement is aware that they are lying or they act with reckless disregard of their statement’s truth or falsity.

Numerous states require that defendants make slanderous statements with malice in order for slander of title claims to succeed. With some exceptions, if a defendant makes a statement which they know was untrue or if they had no basis to believe the statement was true, it qualifies as malice.

In other words, it is not necessarily required for a defendant to be out to get a plaintiff to satisfy the malice requirement.

What Are Special Damages in Slander of Title?

Plaintiffs are typically required to show special damages in order to prove their slander of title case. If a defendant’s statement does not cause special damages, their slander of title claim will not succeed.

Special damages in these claims may include any type of provable economic damages which result from the slander. This may include things such as canceled leases or the expenses which are necessary to clear up the slander as well as any associated legal fees.

Special damages in the context of slander of title include monetary losses which result directly and immediately from the slanderous statements. These damages may include losses which arise from:

  • The inability to sell the property;
  • A decrease in value of the property; and
  • The litigation costs of reversing the side effects of those slanderous statements.

What Kinds of Actions Will be Considered Slander of Title?

There are certain kinds of actions which will be considered slander of title, including:

  • Wrongfully recording an unfounded claim to property that an individual do not own;
  • Burying a deceased relative in a plot of land that an individual does not own;
  • Filing claims of interest in the public records; and
  • Wrongfully filing a mechanic’s lien on a piece of property.

Do I Need an Attorney for My Title or Boundary Line Dispute?

It is essential to have the assistance of a real estate attorney for any title or boundary line disputes you may have. Boundaries and title issues are very important issues which may affect your rights as the property owner.

Your attorney can assist you by reviewing your title and boundary lines and help you defend any attacks on your boundary rights and the title to your property. They will represent you any time you have to appear in court.