Removal of Old Lien May Require Quiet Title Action
Question: In 2005, my sister deeded her home in Glendale to me and my wife. My sister recently died, and we want to sell this home. We thought that the title to this home was free and clear because the mortgage was paid off years ago. The title commitment, however, shows that in 1994 my sister recorded a lien on her home in favor of a bonding company to keep her son out of jail on a drug charge. The bonding company is no longer in business. How can we clear the title to our Glendale home?
Answer: You may be able to find a title company that will “insure over” this lien with the bonding company. In other words, the title company will give a buyer of the home a “clean” title report without the lien of the bonding company. The reasoning of the title company would be that the “reward” of clear title through escrow fees and title insurance fees outweighs the minimal “risk” of the defunct bonding company enforcing this 1994 lien.
If a title company will not “insure over” this lien of the bonding company, you will have to file a quiet title law suit naming the bonding company as a defendant. The bonding company can be served, and assuming that the bonding company is defunct and does not answer the lawsuit, you should receive a default judgment extinguishing the lien of the bonding company on your Glendale home.