This is the second article in our series on Oklahoma tax sales and related issues.  The last post gave a brief overview of delinquent property taxes and the consequences of remaining delinquent for 3 or more years.  This article will focus on a narrow issue: quiet title action for properties acquired at Oklahoma tax sale, also known as tax resale or tax resale auction.  We will use these names interchangeably in this article.

If you recently purchased a property at the County Treasurer Tax Resale or are thinking about doing so, then this article is for you.  Tax sales are buyer-beware sales.  The County does not warrant title to any properties sold.  Because of the inherent risk involved, tax deeds are regarded as having clouded or unmarketable titles.  A knowledgeable quiet title attorney can assess your situation and help you navigate the legal process to clear the title thereby ensuring its marketability.

Is quiet title action required after a tax sale?

A quiet title action is not required per se for the properties purchased at the County Treasury Auctions.  Once the tax deed is issued and recorded, you become the record owner of the property.

However, these properties may be riddled with uncertainties, potential claims, liens, or other encumbrances.  As a result, your claim to the title may be clouded rendering it unmarketable.  You may choose not to quite title on these properties, but then you must hold title for 10 years – before it is deemed marketable.  During which, the title remains unmarketable, and very little can be done with the property that requires title insurance. 16 O.S. §62(d).

Despite the County’s due diligence to notify previous owners, claimants, mortgagees, and lien holders, procedural defects may still exist.  For instance, the County may fail to notify the previous owners or other claimants.  This defect creates grounds for them to reclaim the property.

Why should you quiet title for properties purchased at the tax sale?

Of course, you can sell the property just like you would sell any other assets that you own.  But the difference lies in the marketability of the title.  A tax sale deed is considered unmarketable.  As a result, you may have a hard time either selling it or getting the full market value of the property.  In Oklahoma, title companies generally require a quiet title for properties purchased at a tax sale before they green-light any subsequent transaction. 

Furthermore, the previous owner has 5 years to file a lawsuit to reclaim the sold property.  Obviously, this applies only if they have any legal grounds to do so – one such ground being lack of notice. 12 O.S. §93(3).

One may ask: why go through the trouble of buying these properties in the first place if you can’t even sell them for the full market value?  Well, this is precisely where the quiet title action comes in to save the day.

A successful quiet title action does just that – it quiets any claims, liens, or clouds in the property including that of the previous owners.  It confirms the buyer’s ownership and extinguishes any remaining claims or liens.  Thereby, providing a clear and marketable title to the new owner.

Do I need to hire a lawyer to initiate a quiet title action?

No, you do not need a lawyer to initiate a quiet title action.  However, there are many ways a suit can go wrong.  Costing you valuable time and money.  A knowledgeable quiet title lawyer will gather facts, assess your situation, and recommend the best course of action for youIn some instances, a full-blown quiet title action may not be necessary, and the matter may be resolved with an entirely different legal avenue.

Of course not all quiet title actions are successful, but having solid legal support will surely increase the likelihood of their success. You have gone through the trouble of investing in these properties, so why not take an additional step to clear the title and ensure it’s marketability?

A successful quiet title action will clear any cloud thereby making the title marketable and insurable.  It minimizes potential challenges and gives you peace of mind.

OKC Quiet Title Lawyer

If you have recently purchased a property at the County Treasurer’s Auction (also known as tax sale or tax resale) and would like to quiet title, please get in touch.  Niroula Law will give your case the attention it deserves and help you navigate the complexities of a quiet title action.  We work on an upfront flat fee for a simple non-contested tax sale quiet title suits. Contact us online or by telephone to speak to an OKC Real Estate Lawyer and to discuss your quiet title matter.