A title company is a company that provides title insurance for property owners. The title insurance provides protection from the owner, and sometimes mortgage lenders, from any legal claims or lawsuits connected with the property title. In addition to title insurance, title companies also handle a number of different tasks. For instance, they also:
- Check to ensure that a title is true, legitimate, and free of any defects that might hinder a sale or transfer of property. This includes performing a title search with the county recorder of deeds to ensure that no other person owns the property and that there are no disputes or claims on the title.
- Check for any liens, judgments, mortgages, or unpaid taxes.
- Check for any easements, leases, or other issues that might affect ownership of the property.
- Request and oversee a property inspection and boundary inspection, to ensure that there are no conflicts regarding fences, boundaries, and encroachments onto the surrounding property areas.
- Maintain real estate trust fund accounts and escrow accounts.
- Ensure that all titles, deeds, and other documents are recorded and filed in the appropriate manner.
Common Legal Issues Associated with Title Companies
Working with a title company can help a property transaction go more smoothly. However, title companies can also be associated with some specific types of legal disputes. These include:
- Chain of title disputes (for instance, if the company failed to verify any possible objections to ownership)
- Issues regarding marketable title/title defects
- Fraud and misrepresentation, especially if an agent is not properly certified
- Breach of contract between the property owner and the title company
Title companies and their agents are generally held to a certain standard when it comes to the thoroughness and accuracy of their work. If the homeowner or potential buyer feels that the company or their agent did not exercise reasonable efforts in performing their duties, they might be able to hold the title company liable for losses connected with the transaction.
Legal disputes with a title company can often be resolved through additional negotiations, for instance if a contract needs re-writing. However, in some cases, a lawsuit may be needed. This is often the case for legal claims involving fraud. In such legal actions, a monetary damages award may be more appropriate when it comes to reimbursing a person for losses caused by a violation or negligence from a title agent.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Title Company Lawsuit?
Title companies can often provide much assistance during a property sale or when considering owning property. You may need to hire a real estate lawyer if you need assistance with any issues with titles or title insurance. Your attorney can provide you with legal guidance and advice on any issues or concerns you may have regarding your property. Also, if you need to file a lawsuit, your lawyer can help represent you during trial as well.