Florida Quiet Title Actions 101

House for Sale

When someone purchases a piece of real estate in Florida, they have “title,” which is the legal basis of property ownership. However, there are instances where a homeowner or property owner wants to sell Florida property, but are unable to do so because a title report indicates a title defect exists. A title defect shows the holder of title to the property does not have clear title because another party or parties may have an interest in the property or have clouded the title (i.e., heirs of a deceased prior owner, construction lien holders, leaseholders, etc.).

Title defects may be present when you purchase tax deeds at county auctions or foreclosed properties at public auctions. The purchasers are not guaranteed any warranties or good and clear title; therefore, there are likely instruments that could cloud title to your newly purchased property. Florida law is designed to protect the chain of title to real estate and allows quiet title actions as a way to clean and clear many title defects.

Chapter 65 of Florida Statutes governs quiet title actions (see below). A “quiet title” action is a lawsuit filed in a Florida circuit court by someone who wants to establish legal or equitable title to a specific piece of real estate property. Establishing outright ownership in a property requires the filing of a petition with the appropriate circuit court to quiet title to the property in your name. The court then reviews all paperwork and title documents filed to determine the rightful owner of the real estate in question. The judge then issues a judgment removing all adverse legal interests to the property and the title is “quieted.”

A successfully quieted title will eliminate liens, claims or other issues affecting your title to your property. If you need an experienced quiet title action attorney to help you establish legal or equitable ownership to real estate property in Florida, please do not hesitate to contact Kimberly Soto, Esq. at The Soto Law Office, P.A., (321) 972-2279.

Table of Contents

65.011 Real estate; certain jurisdiction over.

65.021 Real estate; removing clouds.

65.031 Real estate; removing clouds; plaintiffs.

65.041 Real estate; removing clouds; defendants.

65.051 Real estate; removing clouds; joinder.

65.061 Quieting title; additional remedy.

65.071 Quieting title; deeds without joinder of wife when separated for 30 years.

65.081 Tax titles; quieting title.

65.011 Real estate; certain jurisdiction over.—Chancery courts have jurisdiction of actions by any person or corporation claiming to own any land or part thereof, or by two or more claiming to own the same land or part thereof under a common title against more than one person or corporation occupying or claiming title to the land or part thereof adversely to plaintiff, whether defendants claim or hold under a common title or not; and shall determine the title of plaintiff as against defendants and enter judgment quieting the title of, and awarding possession to, the plaintiff entitled thereto and may enter injunctions, temporary or perpetual, appoint receivers, and enter such orders about costs as are necessary to protect the rights of the parties.

History.—s. 1, ch. 3884, 1889; RS 1500; GS 1949; RGS 3212; CGL 5004; s. 20, ch. 67-254.

Note.—Former s. 66.10.

65.021 Real estate; removing clouds.—Chancery courts have jurisdiction of actions brought by any person or corporation, whether in actual possession or not, claiming legal or equitable title to land against any person or corporation not in actual possession, who has, appears to have or claims an adverse legal or equitable estate, interest, or claim therein to determine such estate, interest, or claim and quiet or remove clouds from the title to the land. It is no bar to relief that the title has not been litigated at law or that there is only one litigant to each side of the controversy or that the adverse claim, estate, or interest is void upon its face, or though not void on its face, requires extrinsic evidence to establish its validity.

History.—s. 1, ch. 4739, 1899; GS 1950; RGS 3213; s. 1, ch. 10223, 1925; CGL 5005; s. 2, ch. 29737, 1955; s. 20, ch. 67-254.

Note.—Former s. 66.11.

65.031 Real estate; removing clouds; plaintiffs.—An action in chancery for quieting title to, or clearing a cloud from, land may be maintained in the name of the owner or of any prior owner who warranted the title. All lands, the title to which is subject to a common defect, may be embraced in one action irrespective of the number of existing legal or equitable owners.

History.—s. 1, ch. 10221, 1925; CGL 5006; s. 20, ch. 67-254.

Note.—Former s. 66.12.

65.041 Real estate; removing clouds; defendants.—No person not a party to the action is bound by any judgment rendered adverse to his or her interest, but any judgment favorable to the person inures to that person’s benefit to the extent of his or her legal or equitable title.

History.—s. 2, ch. 10221, 1925; CGL 5007; s. 20, ch. 67-254; s. 345, ch. 95-147.

Note.—Former s. 66.13.

65.051 Real estate; removing clouds; joinder.—Two or more persons who are interested in removing a cloud from or quieting title to land as against the same clouds or adverse claims may join as plaintiffs in a single action to remove such clouds or quiet the title, although their interests relate to separate lands or parts thereof.

History.—s. 1, ch. 10222, 1925; CGL 5008; s. 2, ch. 29737, 1955; s. 20, ch. 67-254.

Note.—Former s. 66.14.

65.061 Quieting title; additional remedy.

(1) JURISDICTION.—Chancery courts have jurisdiction of actions by any person or corporation claiming legal or equitable title to any land, or part thereof, or when any two or more persons claim to own the same land, or any part thereof under a common title against all persons or corporations claiming title to or occupying the land adversely to plaintiff, whether defendants claim or hold under a common title or not, and shall determine the title of plaintiff and may enter judgment quieting the title and awarding possession to the party entitled thereto, but if any defendant is in actual possession of any part of the land, a trial by jury may be demanded by any party, whereupon the court shall order an issue in ejectment as to such lands to be made and tried by a jury. Provision for trial by jury does not affect the action on any lands that are not claimed to be in the actual possession of any defendant. The court may enter final judgment without awaiting the determination of the ejectment action.

(2) GROUNDS.—When a person or corporation not the rightful owner of land has any conveyance or other evidence of title thereto, or asserts any claim, or pretends to have any right or title thereto, which may cast a cloud on the title of the real owner, or when any person or corporation is the true and equitable owner of land the record title to which is not in the person or corporation because of the defective execution of any deed or mortgage because of the omission of a seal thereon, the lack of witnesses, or any defect or omission in the wording of the acknowledgment of a party or parties thereto, when the person or corporation claims title thereto by the defective instrument and the defective instrument was apparently made and delivered by the grantor to convey or mortgage the real estate and was recorded in the county where the land lies, or when possession of the land has been held by any person or corporation adverse to the record owner thereof or his or her heirs and assigns until such adverse possession has ripened into a good title under the statutes of this state, such person or corporation may file complaint in any county in which any part of the land is situated to have the conveyance or other evidence of claim or title canceled and the cloud removed from the title and to have his or her title quieted, whether such real owner is in possession or not or is threatened to be disturbed in his or her possession or not, and whether defendant is a resident of this state or not, and whether the title has been litigated at law or not, and whether the adverse claim or title or interest is void on its face or not, or if not void on its face that it may require extrinsic evidence to establish its validity. A guardian ad litem shall not be appointed unless it shall affirmatively appear that the interest of minors, persons of unsound mind, or convicts are involved.

(3) DERAIGNMENT OF TITLE.—The plaintiff shall deraign his or her title from the original source or for a period of at least 7 years before filing the complaint unless the court otherwise directs, setting forth the book and page of the records where any instrument affecting the title is recorded, if it is recorded, unless plaintiff claims from a common source with defendant.

(4) JUDGMENT.—If it appears that plaintiff has legal title to the land or is the equitable owner thereof based on one or more of the grounds mentioned in subsection (2), or if a default is entered against defendant (in which case no evidence need be taken), the court shall enter judgment removing the alleged cloud from the title to the land and forever quieting the title in plaintiff and those claiming under him or her since the commencement of the action and adjudging plaintiff to have a good fee simple title to said land or the interest thereby cleared of cloud.