By: James Godbold – Published in the BizWest Thought Leaders column in October 2019.
Quieting title is a legal procedure to establish someone’s right to ownership of real property against one or more adverse parties. An adverse party is one who claims an ownership interest in, or interferes with enjoyment of the property, decreases the value of the property, or renders the title uninsurable. Each time real property moves from one owner to another, a new link is created in the “chain of title.” If there is a broken link in the chain, or a link with problems, a quiet title suit may be necessary to resolve this break. In effect, a quiet title action is a form of declaratory judgment in which the Court is declaring the rights of the parties to the property in question. The dispute can be over full ownership of the property, or a claim of partial ownership (such as a claim for ownership of minerals on the property, an easement over the property, or a lien in an amount that does not exceed the value of the property).
Quiet title actions are frequently used in several situations. They can be used to resolve boundary disputes, where adjoining property owners disagree about the proper location of the boundary for their properties. They can be used to resolve conflicting surveys between adjacent properties. They can also be used to resolve questions over whether there is an easement or right-of-way over a piece of property. In Northern Colorado, quiet title actions are also commonly used to resolve disputes over ownership of minerals and oil & gas rights. Where there is a dispute, lack of certainty, or conflict over ownership of oil & gas, quiet title actions are frequently necessary to resolve this issue.