Property conveyance refers to the act of transferring property from one owner to another. A person is said to convey property when they manifest an intent to transfer their property to another.
Conveyance is typically accomplished by transferring the deed to the property as a formal act in order to show that the conveyance has occurred. The prior owner transfers the property deed or title to the new owner, and the transference is recorded by the county in which the property is located.
In order for conveyance to occur, the deed must be in writing and signed, as well as describe the land with sufficient accuracy. Actual transfer of the physical deed is not always required for a conveyance to occur; all that must happen is some event that shows that the deed holder intended to make the transfer.
Once the deed has been transferred, the deed’s recipient should record the transfer with a county recorder’s office as soon as possible. This provides evidence of conveyance if there are any future disputes.
Can You Dispute a Defective Title?
A land title grants a person legal ownership and property rights. Land titles are a common subject of legal conflicts and lawsuits. Common land title lawsuits include:
- Disputes over the land’s boundaries;
- Inheritance disputes;
- Various types of zoning and land use conflicts;
- Conflicts regarding adverse possession; and
- Issues with a defective title, or title defects.
Defective titles can delay or prevent transactions, such as the sale of a home. A defective title can be defined simply as a title that is not marketable. This means that the property being sold by a party who claims to have a clean title is actually owned by someone else.
However, any type of factor that would render a title invalid may be considered a title defect. Some examples of these factors include but may not be limited to:
- Wording issues within the document that are not in compliance with real estate standards for the area;
- Improper recording of ownership;
- Failure to include necessary signatures, such as a spouse’s signature;
- Previous liens and other such encumbrances have not been removed; and
- Failure to follow recording or filing procedures when recording real estate documents.
It is important that title defects are discovered and appropriately addressed long before the property is sold or transferred. A transfer of title lawsuit may occur, and one party may contest or dispute either a portion or the entirety of the transfer.
Once a defect has been detected, the property’s owner will need to remedy the defect in order to avoid having the title declared invalid. This is usually accomplished by conducting a title search at the county’s recorder office, which should reveal the property’s true owner.
If doing so does not resolve the question of who truly owns the property, then a defective title dispute may be resolved through filing a quiet title action. A quiet title action is essentially a lawsuit that requests the court to determine who the valid owner of the property is.
Defects in a title can be avoided by carefully examining the records for the property prior to any transfers; however, even good faith attempts to search records can overlook defects that may be hidden, or are otherwise difficult to identify.
Can a Title Transfer Lawsuit be Filed for Fraud or Deceit?
Real estate fraud can occur when one party, whether an individual or an agency, provides false information for any real estate transaction. This also includes misrepresenting any information. An example of this would be a seller providing wrong information regarding the actual size of apartments they are selling. There are many types of real estate, including:
- Mortgage fraud;
- Foreclosure fraud;
- Value fraud; and
- Title fraud.
Title fraud can occur when the title of the property is falsely changed, or occupied through fraudulent methods. An example of this would be if an individual sells a property that belongs to someone else, by pretending to be the owner of the property. In a case such as this, the original property owner may not even be aware that the transaction has occurred.
Victims of title fraud are entitled to file a lawsuit in order to recover damages. However, all parties involved in any real estate transaction should work to prevent the fraud from happening. Some steps to stop real estate fraud include:
- Avoiding rushing to finalize any real estate transactions;
- Conducting a thorough investigation of all real estate agents and brokers involved in the transaction;
- Obtaining an appraisal of the property in order to get a fair value of the property through market prices; and
- Understanding the details of the property before proceeding with any real estate transaction.
Do I Need an Attorney for Transfer of Title Lawsuits?
Transferring a title can be a complex process, and any title disputes could result in a lawsuit. You should consult with a skilled and knowledgeable real estate attorney if you are involved in a title transfer, or title transfer lawsuit. The attorney can guide you through the process and represent you in court as needed.