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Mr. Andrew Cuevas, Esq., is the President of Cuevas & Associates, P.A., and Vantage Property Title Company, and oversees the Community Association Law Division of the law firm as well as the real estate transactions practice (including title insurance services) of the law firm and Vantage Property Title Company. If you have any questions regarding this article or any other questions, you can contact Mr. Cuevas at (305) 461-9500 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in reading previous newsletters, please visit www.cuevaslaw.com, select the icon for Newsletters, and then choose the area of law you are interested in.
From time to time, deeds and other instruments are recorded against properties in the public records, even though upon further review the instruments are affecting the incorrect property. This can become an issue for real estate closings and the ability to issue title insurance at the time of closing. If these "Wild Deeds" are not addressed early in the process, there will inevitably be unhappy sellers, buyers, realtors, and mortgage brokers. In certain scenarios, these "Wild Deeds" can be ignored. However, sometimes they cannot be merely ignored and must be addressed early in the real estate transaction. A sample transaction and resolution is as follows:
James is selling Unit 105 of Beauty Condominium located in Miami-Dade County. The Title Search Report reveals a Wild Deed from Ingrid Nonowner (as "Grantor") to Sally Wrongbuyer (as "Grantee"), along with the institutional purchase money mortgage from Sally Wrongbuyer to Novice Bank. The Wild Deed also has attached to it an approval from the condominium association to the transfer of Unit 637 from Ingrid Nonowner to Sally Wrongbuyer. A search of title to Unit 637 reveals that two months after the recording of the Wild Deed and institutional mortgage, a corrective deed (from Ingrid Nonowner to Sally Wrongbuyer) and corrective mortgage (from Sally Nonowner to Novice Bank) were recorded, each instrument correctly identifying the unit conveyed and encumbered to be 637 and making a recital that the purpose of the instrument is to correct the previously recorded instrument with reference to its book and page. For title insuring purposes, must a quitclaim deed from Sally Nonowner and a release/satisfaction from Novice Bank be obtained? The answer would be no. Since Ingrid Nonowner never owned the property and since neither Ingrid Nonowner and Sally Wrongbuyer never paid taxes nor took possession of Unit 105 of the Beauty Condominium, then the Wild Deed and related instruments may be disregarded since the Wild Instruments were clearly intended to describe other property. However, the problem could be more complicated if the Wild Deed was never corrected. A corrective Deed in most cases might be required, which would require contacting all parties. This is why these title issues need to be identified early in the process.
There are many possible explanations for "Wild Deeds", such as:
- An owner decides to sell a piece of property without the help of a title company or lawyer, and hands the new owner a deed, which is then recorded. The clerk of court has the obligation to record instruments submitted for recording without guarantying that such instrument will negatively affect a chain of title; or
- A fraudulent transfer has occurred for the purpose of stealing from an unsuspecting buyer; or
- A deed is not properly indexed by the clerk and is missing from the chain of title; or
- A deed was recorded in the wrong county.
The fix for a "Wild Deed" can be as simple as finding an unrecorded document and recording it in the public records; it may require the execution and recording of a new document; or it may require litigation. There is no one-size fits all cure for missing documents. The solution must be tailored to the reason for the missing document.
The Law Office of Cuevas & Associates, P.A. and Vantage Property Title Company is providing this newsletter as a brief summary of certain aspects of real estate law and title insurance issues. The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The publication of this news letter does not create any attorney-client relationship between the reader and Cuevas & Associates, P.A. nor Vantage Property Title Company. The hiring of an attorney is a decision that should not be based solely on advertisements or this newsletter. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience.