While They Were Out

Imagine going out of town to visit a dying relative only to come home and find a complete stranger living in your house; and worse, that stranger now says he legally owns that house.  This has actually happened in Springdale, Ohio.

WLWT-TV reported that Robert Carr moved into a house, changed the locks, and emptied the house.
Carr says he is able to claim the property through something called a “quiet title.” He says the family abandoned the house and gave up their rights.  Carr wants to keep the home and not have to pay a penny.

A quiet title is a legal proceeding to establish an individual's right to ownership of real property against one or more adverse claimants.

An action to quiet title is a lawsuit filed to establish ownership of real property (land and buildings affixed to land). The plaintiff in a quiet title action seeks a court order that prevents the respondent from making any subsequent claim to the property. 

Quiet title actions are necessary because real estate may change hands often, and it is not always easy to determine who has title to the property.

A quiet title suit is also called a suit to remove a cloud. A cloud is any claim or potential claim to ownership of the property. The cloud can be a claim of full ownership of the property or a claim of partial ownership, such as a lien in an amount that does not exceed the value of the property. 

A title to real property is clouded if the plaintiff, as the buyer or recipient of real estate, might have to defend her full ownership of the property in court against some party in the future. A landowner may bring a quiet title action regardless of whether the respondent is asserting a present right to gain possession of the premises.

“What he’s looking for is full title and ownership of the home,” Alison Warner, the family’s attorney, told WLWT. “He’s in their home. They don’t know when he’s there. He can be there now.”

The family has charged Carr with breaking and entering but he is even fighting that charge.

A quiet title action lawsuit brought in a court over property disputes. It is used to establish who legally owns a property.

The FBI has been informed about this case.

“They’ll come together as groups to receive training, how to conduct some of these schemes from a financial standpoint, to understand what they consider the common law and how they can use that common law for their sovereign purposes,” Special Agent in Charge Kevin Cornelius told WLWT. 

“I’m not familiar with any cases where it’s held up in court. I think that it holds up the process of the court’s decision.”

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