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What is the cost to file a quiet title action in California without an attorney?

Long Beach, CA |

This is an "adverse possession" of an individual who has paid all back property taxes on the property

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Attorney answers 3


With or without an attorney, the cost is going to be $435. You'll need to prepare a complaint and file it in Superior Court. If you need to pay a process server to personally serve any defendants, add around $80 per defendant for that cost. Any costs after that will be determined by whether there is discovery conducted, jury fees paid, and any other service fees you have to pay.


BTW, merely paying delinquent property taxes does not by itself create title adverse possesion.
To establish title by adverse possession, the claimant must establish possession by actual occupation under such circumstances as to constitute reasonable notice to the owner, possession which is hostile to the owner's title, a claim to the property as his own, either under color of title or claim of right, possession which is continuous and uninterrupted for five years, and payment of all of the taxes levied and assessed upon the property during the period.
(See In re Estate of Seifert (2005) 128 Cal.App.4th 64)
Richard A. Rodgers, Esq.
(805) 230-2525
200 N. Westlake Blvd. Ste 201
Westlake Village, CA 91362

As stated in the AVVO.COM Terms and Conditions of Use, this answer is not intended as legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship or privilige is created by this response.


My colleagues are correct. The "costs" to file the complaint and to have it served as well as to file and record a notice of lis pendens with the County Recorder's Office will be minimal, but the likelihood of success for an adverse possession claim (even with an attorney) is very small.

The elements necessary to establish ownership of real property by adverse possession in California are as follows: “(1) the payment of taxes, (2) actual possession which is (3) open and notorious, (4) continuous and uninterrupted for five years, (5) hostile and adverse to the true owner's title, and (6) under either color of title or claim of right.” (California Maryland Funding, Inc. v. Lowe (1995) 37 Cal.App.4th 1798, 1803.)

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

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