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Necessary Parties in Quiet Title, Property Title Defect Suits

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.

Contact us for questions concerning real estate, contract, or property disputes.