Quiet Title Action
What is a Quiet Title action?
In the context of property acquired through a tax deed sale, a Quiet Title action is a Court procedure that is required in order to get a Court Order confirming that the procedures undertaken by the Clerk of Court in performing the tax deed sale were done in accordance with Florida Statute. When property is sold at a tax deed sale, the effect is to eliminate any claim that the prior owner or mortgage holder or lien holder may have to the title. Thus, when the successful bidder at a tax deed sale obtains the deed to the property, it should be free and clear of any other liens or encumbrances, except for certain excluded liens for municipalities, etc. Unfortunately, the buyer of the tax deed property does not have “marketable title” unless a Quiet Title action is performed.
Why do I need a Quiet Title action?
The buyer of a tax deed property cannot obtain title insurance bought at a tax deed sale until a Quiet Title action is performed. In a standard Florida Real Estate transaction, the buyer will insist upon title insurance in order to insure the title to the property for the amount of the purchase price. Likewise, if the successful bidder of a tax deed property wants to refinance the property, the lender will require title insurance to insure title for the Mortgage.
How long does a Quiet Title action take?
Once all Defendants have been served with the action, they each have 20 days to file a response from the date they are served. If no responses are served, they will be Defaulted and a Motion for Final Judgment after Default will be submitted to the Judge. The amount of time this process takes depends upon the location of the Defendants and how difficult they are to find. When all Defendants are easily located, our firm averages *under 60 days* from date of filing to entry of Final Judgment on uncontested Quiet Title actions. If a Defendant cannot be located, they can be served through publication in a newspaper of general circulation for 4 consecutive weeks, which adds 1 month of time and approximately $125 to $300 for the publication fees.
Do I have to complete the Quiet Title action before selling or refinancing the property?
Typically, yes. However, TitleMark has a unique program offered to tax deed purchasers that allows them to immediately sell or refinance the property and obtain title insurance within thirty days or less of purchasing the property. In order to qualify for this program, a preliminary review of the tax deed sale would have to be performed.
What is the cost of a Quiet Title action?
The standard attorney fee for an uncontested Quite Title Action is $1500, plus the court costs, service of process, publication and other costs related to the lawsuit. Typically the filing fee is $400-$450, the title search is $150, the cost of publication can range anywhere from $125 to $400, and service of process on each of the defendants varies. If one of the defendants is deceased, it may be necessary to appoint an Guardian Ad Litem, which may cost an additional $500. A precise estimate of the cost for any particular Quiet Title action can be determined after a title search and examination of your property, which can be done for $250, $175 of which will be included in the attorney fee for handling the Quiet Title case. We accept debit and credit cards.
What will be needed in order to proceed with a Quiet Title action?
We would need to have a copy of the Clerk’s Deed that was issued pursuant to the tax deed sale, as well as a copy of the Clerk’s Certificate which is usually filed in the public records shortly after the tax deed sale. We would also need the property address, name and contact information for the buyer and a retainer of $1000. The retainer would be applied toward the initial Court costs. At the time the Quiet Title lawsuit is ready to be filed, the balance of any fees and costs would then be due. In the event that the buyer elects to do a post-closing Quiet Title action, all attorney’s fees and costs would be collected out of the either the sale or refinance of the property.
Will my appearance be required at any Court hearing?
Typically, there is no necessity for the buyer having to appear at any Court hearing. The buyer will have to sign an Affidavit that will be submitted in connection with the Quiet Title action, but those can be provided by mail.
Is there a way to obtain information on scheduled tax deed sales in Florida?
In each county in the State of Florida, the Clerk of Court performs the tax deed sales for that county. Many of these counties have county government web pages which provide a lot of helpful information, as well as an itemization of the properties expected to be auctioned. There is a listing of the websites under our Tax Deed Clerk of Court link.