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Adverse Possession vs Cancellation of Instrument and Quiet Title

Posted by Neil Garfield | April 11, 2018

In the final analysis, the only way to smoke out the banks on their fraudulent claims as “creditors” or “agents of creditors” is to create a situation where the creditor must be disclosed. In those cases where judges have ruled in discovery or ruled on the right to prepay, subject to identification of the creditor, the cases have all settled under seal of confidentiality. There are thousands of such cases buried under side agreements requiring “Confidentiality.”

I have been seeing a number of people adding Adverse Possession to their theories about Quieting title. So let me say first that an order granting quiet title to a homeowner whose title is encumbered by a recorded mortgage or deed of trust is practically impossible not only because judges don’t want to grant it, but for the more important reason that quiet title is not legally sound strategy for homeowners seeking defend their homes from foreclosure.

In order to quiet title, one would need to allege and prove by clear and convincing evidence that the mortgage or deed of trust should never have been executed or recorded in the first place. Anything less than that does not deserve quiet title declaration from any court. The fact that a certain party purports to have authority to enforce the mortgage or deed of trust when in fact they don’t have such authority is damn good reason not to let them enforce the mortgage or deed of trust. But that does not mean that the instrument is void.

Here is the response I gave to a question about adverse possession:

Adverse possession does not seem to apply to this situation. But it is possible that you could get traction by filing a lawsuit to cancel the DOT (Cancellation of Instrument) and maybe even get a order quieting title to your name. This is not simple and the requirements and elements of such claims are difficult to fulfill.

Adverse possession is usually utilized in boundary disputes.

A mortgage or a deed of trust is an interest in real property. And where we are dealing with the deed of trust,The trustee is receiving title to the property. So technically you are probably correct. But when you look deeper, You will see that adverse possession does not apply.

The transfer of title to a trustee under the deed of trust divests the homeowner of title. Under the terms of the DOT you are entitled to live there and act, for all purposes, as though you are the title owner including in a foreclosure proceeding. Hence several elements of adverse possession are not met especially “adverse,” since you have express permission under a contract to be there and to act as the title owner.

ELEMENTS OF ADVERSE POSSESSION: (NOTE — the “title owner is the DOT trustee)

  • Continuous
  • Open
  • Notorious
  • Peaceful, Peaceable
  • Hostile (claiming title against the interest of the party who actually has title)
  • Adverse (no permission or contractual right to assert title against the party who is seized with title).
  • Exclusive (barring claims or use by the actual title owner
  • Visible (putting a fence on your neighbor’s yard, ignoring the property line)
  • Actual (not implied)

But the fact that the DOT conveyed title to a real trustee on behalf of a false beneficiary is probably the basis for a lawsuit to cancel the instrument (if you can prove your allegations) and then get an order declaring the title is quieted, free from the encumbrance of record that is declared by the judge to be void.

You need to be careful though about your conclusion that the DOT was void. This involves several factual questions that are not obvious. Even a void instrument could conceivably be valid if it contains a defect that is corrected or could be corrected by affidavit pursuant to local law.

Your argument would be that no such affidavit was ever offered. Thus even after you filed your lawsuit, they failed or refused to make any corrections.

Their argument will circle around third party beneficiary, “standing,” and the fact that SOME party could enforce it if they could show that they were the intended beneficiary despite the recitation on the face of the DOT.

This is not the basis for a simple legal argument. Each side must allege and prove their factual (what happened, when, where, who was involved and why) allegations by at least a preponderance of the evidence and most probably, legal or not, the homeowner would be held to a higher standard of clear and convincing evidence informally or formally because the recorded documents carry a “presumption” of authenticity and validity that the homeowner must overcome.

Academically speaking such claims are well-founded. But in practice judges look at such claims as gimmicks to get around a legitimate debt. In order to combat that we must figure out a way to bring in a party who has a legitimate claim to represent the unknown and undisclosed creditors.

The banks have successfully cast the money trail in obscurity. The banks are committing fraud with each foreclosure in my opinion and in the opinion of everyone else I know that has analyzed the securitization of mortgage debt. But they have made it appear that there is nobody other than the bank’s pet entities (the so-called trusts) to play the role of creditor.

 

 

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