The concept of chain of title and the process for fixing improper clouds on title to property can be confusing to property owners. Often, property owners only discover issues involving title when they obtain title reports in an attempt to sell their property. At that point, property owners may find that other individuals have recorded fraudulent claims to title that were previously unknown to the property owner. In such a case, the homeowner will be forced to file a complaint to quiet title in order to determine the actual disposition of title to the property. However, a cause of action for slander of title is a lesser used remedy that, when appropriate, can be a way to pursue attorney fees in conjunction with a quiet title action.
A slander of title occurs when a person, without privilege to do so, publishes material that is untrue and disparages another’s title to property, which causes immediate and direct pecuniary loss. (Truck Ins. Exchange v. Bennett (1997) 53 Cal. App. 4th 75; Stalberg v. Western Title Ins. Co. (1994) 27 Cal. App. 4th 925; Wilton v. Mountain Wood Homeowners Assn. (1993) 18 Cal. App. 4th 565.) In other words, slander of title is a cause of action pursued by a landowner where another party has published a false claim that brings into question that party’s ownership interest in the property. Often, slander of title occurs where a false document has been recorded and now clouds title to the property, preventing the property owner from being able to sell property.
The interesting thing about slander of title is that the plaintiffs can recover attorney’s fees and other expenses that are incurred to remove the slanderous cloud on title. (Glass v. Gulf Oil Corp. (1970) 12 Cal. App. 3d 412); Wright v. Rogers (1959) 172 Cal. App. 2d 349.) Thus, plaintiffs may find considerable value in pursuing a slander of title cause of action, considering that quiet title actions can be long battles.
Schorr Law has handled countless disputes surrounding title of real estate. For help with your real estate claim, contact us by filing out our contact from on the right hand side this page, by emailing us at email@example.com, by visiting our other site at www.schorr-law.com or by calling us at 310-954-1877.