What’s the Purpose of a Quiet Title Action?

One of the worst-case scenarios for someone who thinks they are the rightful owner of real property or that they have the authority to sell real property is the realization they are not, in fact, the owner of the property. This presents some obvious problems, but the solution is not always so apparent. A legal proceeding that may prove useful for Texans in this situation is a quiet title action, which is actually a special type of lawsuit for real estate disputes. 

How Do Title Disputes Happen?

There are countless reasons for title disputes. A common issue that warrants a quiet title action is a broken chain in title. This can happen, for example, after someone who supposedly buys real property from the owner finds out the original seller was not actually on the title. A broken title chain is often discovered years after the problem should have been corrected, meaning that multiple “owners” can suddenly come out of the woodwork to assert they have ownership.

Adverse possession disputes can also give rise to quiet title actions. In adverse possession cases, an individual or entity may assert ownership over a piece of land if they have been using the property for years—regardless of whose name is on the property’s title. Boundary and surveying disputes often dovetail with adverse possession cases, as do quitclaim deeds. 

What is the Process For a Quiet Title Lawsuit?

The ultimate purpose of a quiet title action is to quiet the claims of these other “owners.” One or more clouds on title should be cleared up before the property is sold—one of many reasons why a title search is important for buyers and sellers. 

Before proceeding with a quiet title action, you should consult with a knowledgeable and experienced real estate attorney to confirm that the lawsuit is your best way forward. Before filing the petition with the court to quiet the clouds on title, you need to gather as much evidence as you can to support your position. Receipts, deeds, promissory notes—all of these can be useful. 

After filing the petition, the defendants must be served with the petition and given an opportunity to respond. If the defendants do not respond within a certain amount of time, the judge will likely rule in your favor. If the defendants contest your claims of superior title, you and your lawyer should formulate a strategy to prevail at the upcoming court hearing. Witnesses are generally allowed to testify and be cross-examined at these hearings. 


For most people, real property is the most significant asset they own. Thus, title disputes can cause a great amount of stress—especially when they arise suddenly and unexpectedly. A quality Texas attorney can help sort out any messes. Albright & Lumpkin assists many Houston-area residents with real estate matters; we’d be glad to answer any questions you have.

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