The right to quiet title in Missouri is statutory. Specifically, Section 527.150 allows any person claiming any “title, estate or interest in real property” to initiate a suit in the local county courthouse to have the Court determine all rights, claims, interest, liens and demands relating to the property. Because title defects can arise in a given parcel of real estate — especially when there has been a litany of owners and the chain of ownership is muddled — quiet title is usually the best option to get a clear understanding of valid claims to the property. Quiet title can also be used as a powerful defense against aggressive lienholders, mortgagees, and creditors.
Because several different people/entities may be involved in a quiet title claim, it’s important to notify and join all necessary parties. Missouri Supreme Court Rule 52.04(a) generally requires that certain people must be included in a lawsuit if the person’s absence means complete relief cannot be accorded among those already parties. It would make little sense to have a quiet title suit involving two claimants to the property while leaving out a third claimant. The purpose of this rule is to ensure judicial economy and have all of the issues resolved in one suit. As a procedural matter, failure to join necessary parties can result in dismissal of the quiet title suit. Accordingly, careful procedures need to be followed in prosecuting a quiet title suit, whether offensively or defensively.
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