Blog

person pointing to a computer with a book open
Common Deed Defects and How to Cure Them

In Florida, deed defects regularly cause real estate disputes when buying or selling property. These issues are often avoidable, but when they occur, the values of these assets get severely impacted until resolved. So, if you recently inherited a home or signed closing papers on a new home, only to discover a defect in the deed, don’t lose hope. There are many ways to cure this situation.

What Are Deed Defects?

Deed defects (title defects) refer to issues in a property transaction that can make it challenging to buy, sell, or inherit real estate. In Florida, several situations can lead to this problem:

Clerical Deed Recording Errors

Having a deed recorded accurately is critical to having a marketable property. If the county clerk makes a mistake in the property’s description or omits information associated with it, a defect occurs.

Ownership Recording Errors

The correct owner must be on the deed being filed and recorded. Failing to ensure the name(s) listed are correct often leads to estate disputes later when the owner has passed away.

Outstanding Judgments/Liens

It’s not uncommon for courts to allow creditors to place liens against a property owned by the liable debtor. Typically, real estate cannot be sold until the amount owed gets repaid. So, if you buy a property without knowledge of an outstanding judgment against it, getting the deed transferred will be impossible.

Unknown Encumbrances

This deed defect involves a third party having a claim to the property. This could be a right of use or possession of a portion of the real estate on the deed. Hidden mortgages and restricted covenants could be attached to the original title and just forgotten if the home is particularly old. This is why you need to work with a knowledgeable real estate lawyer who can perform an exhaustive search and uncover any encumbrances.

Disputes Over Boundaries

Another common issue is a mistake made when surveying a property. When the error isn’t caught, the consequences often go unrealized for decades until the property gets sold. It’s even possible that a claim might be made against the owner for the portion of the property they illegally possessed, which can be a costly process to settle.

Forged Deeds

In an age of technology, it’s been easier for criminals to steal identities and falsify the signatures of property owners to sell or transfer ownership. When these transactions go undetected, significant legal issues can take years to rectify in the courts.

Florida Corrective Deeds and Other Defect Solutions

In Florida, you can execute a corrective deed to address mistakes made on the property’s original title. This could include description errors or even misspelled owner names. Essentially, it adds the correct information to the deed’s record so it is valid once again and can be sold or transferred as the owner sees fit.

Remember that you don’t need a new deed for every defect. Dating errors, for instance, generally can be left as is, even when missing a date altogether! However, you should only correct information that directly affects the validity of the original deed. This is why misspelling in grantors and/or grantees’ names, quitclaims, or misidentification of boundary lines are important to fix.

Unfortunately, not every deed defect can be resolved and may require an experienced real estate attorney to file an action to address the issue. Quiet title lawsuits are one such remedy used in real estate litigation. Anyone holding interest in the property gets notified of your intent to resolve a title’s defect in these proceedings. They will have a limited period of time to make their interests known or lose their right to do so in the future.

Resolve Your Deed Defect with a Reputable Attorney

Contact Attorney Marc Brown right away if you recently discovered that your deed is defective or you are currently involved in a dispute over a real estate transaction involving its title. His law office has helped thousands of South Florida individuals resolve these issues as quickly as possible. Get the answers you need and trust him to determine if your deed is valid and what steps should be taken to correct it if not.