Quiet Title Q & A

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 September 2019 07:14 Written by Chris Griswold Tuesday, 17 September 2019 07:14

Buying or selling commercial or residential property?  If so, odds are you’ll likely come across the need to do a quiet title action – whether sooner or later.  I get calls on these regularly so I thought I’d answer some commonly asked questions surrounding them for inquiring minds.  Read more below (and don’t forget to click on my Facebook link below to also see my short video on this material).

Quiet Title Q & A

Without attempting to cover everything, I wanted to cover some of the more commonly asked questions that relate to this area of law, because most people have questions on these below:

First, what usually creates the need to do a quiet title action?  Usually, you’ll either be the buyer or seller and a title commitment will be obtained from a local, title insurance firm.  On the commitment, either Section B-I or B-II will set forth either a requirement or an exception to the title insurance coverage (known as a cloud, encumbrance or lien upon title).  This will lead the title company to instruct/inform you of the need to do a quiet title action – before such title insurance company will insure title (for the benefit of buyer) to the contemplated purchase (which is always a policy of insurance equal to the amount of the purchase price of the property to be purchased).

Second, who pays for the quiet title action?  Whoever is liable for such expenses as set forth under the purchase-sale agreement, although it’s usually the seller (since the issues arose during seller’s reign of ownership, or before).

Third, how much time should you provide (prior to closing) in order for the quiet title action to be completed?  Remember, a quiet title action is usually a type of lawsuit that has to be filed and finalized in the District County Court of where such property is located, and that takes time.  With uncontested issues, it should take 90-120 days; with contested issues, it can take longer.  Upshot?  Be sure the purchase-sale agreement provides at least an initial 90-120 days for the issues/clouds/encumbrances/liens upon such title to be cleared, subject to further written agreement (for additional time extension) by the parties.

Fourth, is there anything else to remember when doing a quiet title action, any possible surprises?  Keep in mind, a title commitment is only good for usually 180 days (just like an ALTA land survey), so, a long and protracted quiet title action which takes longer than 180 days to complete, once renewed and brought up to date again, may then show newly discovered encumbrances upon the title to the property that need to also be addressed, also prior to closing.

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Darryl Meason / Broker Associate / NAI Sullivan Group / Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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Leases v. Licenses v. Easements

Last Updated on Friday, 13 April 2018 09:06 Written by Chris Griswold Friday, 13 April 2018 09:06

Knowing the basics pays dividends.  At some point, it will make a big difference in the outcome of one of your deals.  Accordingly, we’re going to review some of the basic differences between leases, licenses and easements.  Why?  Each vehicle has its own different strengths/weaknesses and I’ve seen each used within the wrong context.  Read more below….

Leases v. Licenses v. Easements

Revocable? Perpetual? Assignable?
Lease No No Yes
Easement No Yes n/a
License Yes No No

Absent certain language within the document and/or certain special circumstances, the foregoing table quickly summarizes the basic, legal discrepancies between each type of vehicle.  What practical effect do these differences have on you?

Parking Situations:  I’ve seen property owners grant easements to other adjoining property owners for parking space.  While this may sometimes be in the best interests of the granting property owner, it’s usually not.  Why?  Easements are not usually revocable and are usually perpetual (which makes the issue of whether they’re assignable moot).  This all makes granting a parking easement a little risky since you might not like the future owners of the adjoining property.  Instead, you’d probably want to use either a lease or a license – depending upon the situation.

Vacating Right of Ways:  I’ve seen back-to-back property owners discuss the possibility of jointly vacating an alley (which would result in each property owner getting back their half of the alley) just to overlook the possibility that, unless they enter into a “reciprocal easement agreement” at the time of vacation, the other property owner could ostensibly fence off their half of the alley thereby constructively blocking off the other’s access to the back of their building (depending on the width of the alley).  In other words, granting each other mutual leases or licenses upon the other’s land won’t long-term protect either them or their respective successors (since neither a lease nor a license is perpetual in duration).

Snowcone Stands, Parking Lot Nurseries, Christmas Tree and Pumpkin Lots:  The big things here are: 1) seasonal/temporary use, and 2) your familiarity with the operators.  It’s okay for a property owner to grant a lease to an operator they’ve done business with for years for a 6 month term (i.e., Spring through Summer) to sell plants or to serve snow cones.  However, it’s likely unwise to grant a lease to a new and unknown operator who wants to sell pumpkins for just a few weeks.  Why?  As a property owner, you won’t mind granting the lease with a hard, irrevocable, 6 month term to the repeat operator, but, with the new operator who only needs the space for a month or so, you’d probably want to use a license in order to retain the right to quickly revoke an unworkable/undesirable situation – especially since the term is so short….


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Darren Ford / Owner & Developer of JOBO Properties, L.L.C. / Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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Lot Lines: Disaster lessons for property owners

Last Updated on Thursday, 6 October 2016 02:05 Written by Chris Griswold Monday, 20 June 2016 02:49

Courtesy the Journal Record
by Ted Streuli

There were two tragic incidents in Orlando, Florida, this week: the mass shooting at a nightclub that left 50 people dead and a 2-year-old killed by an alligator on Disney property.

I asked Oklahoma City attorney Chris Griswold what commercial property owners and managers can do to limit their liability in such extraordinary circumstances.

The property owner might not have liability in the nightclub shooting, but it’s something an owner would like to prevent. Oklahoma allows licensees to carry firearms, but Griswold said that can be prohibited by a commercial landlord. The owner or his agent must post a sign saying guns are not allowed on the property, and it then applies to any part of the privately owned building that’s open to the public. That means if it’s posted, no one except law enforcement officers can carry a gun into reception areas, elevators, hallways, dining spaces or other public places.

There are exceptions, Griswold explained. Landlords can’t prohibit gun owners from locking their weapons in their cars parked on the property, and they can’t prohibit a tenant whose office is not open to the public from carrying a gun if he can enter without passing through a public space.

For multifamily housing, there would have to be a stipulation in the lease.

Carrying a gun into a privately owned building that prohibits firearms is not a criminal act. The landlord may order the person off the premises; if he doesn’t comply and the police are called, he can be fined $250. The penalty isn’t stiff, but landlords and their property managers who have posted the appropriate sign have the right to remove people who are armed.

As for the alligator incident, Disney’s lawyers have likely been hunkered down, frantically looking for a way to minimize the company’s liability. As Griswold noted, the whole point of Disney is to entertain families with children, and the company has a responsibility to do so in a safe manner.

The family assumed no risk of a gator attack, and they may argue that no reasonable person would expect an alligator to come after a child on theme park property. Disney could have marked the dangerous area or hired a company to remove the alligators. At the very least, they could have posted warning signs.

Having warned the public that a danger exists, said Griswold, can help mitigate the liability when something goes wrong.

Read more: http://journalrecord.com/2016/06/16/lot-lines-disaster-lessons-for-property-owners-opinion/#ixzz4C8CEU1Ob

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