Quiet Title Actions

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A quiet title action is a lawsuit to determine who owns a piece of real estate and thereby “quiet” any disputes over the title. Issues that may lead to a quiet title action can include boundary disputes, lienholder claims, foreclosure defense matters, or unrecorded interests such as easements.

Quiet title actions in Michigan are governed by statute. MCL § 600.2932. The Michigan court rules set forth certain administrative procedures that must be followed. MCR 3.411. A plaintiff must name as defendants anyone who might have an interest in the property. Any party that does not receive proper notice of the action will not be bound by the court’s decision. The complaint must contain certain information including a legal description of the property, and the plaintiff must provide any written evidence of title.

To succeed, a plaintiff in a quiet title action must prove that it has title to the property which is superior to the title claims of all other persons with an interest in the property. Once the plaintiff makes a prima facie case, the burden shifts to the defendant(s) to prove a superior right or title in the property.

If the plaintiff is successful, the court will grant a quiet title judgment which can be recorded with the appropriate register of deeds. On the other hand, if the plaintiff fails to make a prima facie case of title, judgment may be entered for defendant(s).

The statute of limitations for a quiet title action in Michigan is 15 years. MCL § 600.5801(4).