Chain Of Title Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Chain Of Title, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Chain Of Title?

(n) Chain of Title is the change of ownership title occurred to a property in the order of occurrence from the original owner to the present title holder through all intermediary owners. Chain of Title is used determine whether the present owner has a clear title. There are professionals known as title company or abstractor who searches the chain of title to verify whether a title is clear of claims.

History and Meaning of Chain Of Title

Chain of Title is a term used in real estate that refers to the sequence of historical transfers of ownership of a property. It provides an uninterrupted chain of ownership that begins with the original grant of land from the government or other entity and continues to the present owner. The chain of title is important for determining ownership rights and resolving any disputes that arise.

The process of researching and verifying a chain of title is known as a title search. This is typically conducted by a title company or abstractor, who will examine public records for any liens, encumbrances, or other claims on the property. If any issues are found in the chain of title, they will need to be resolved before a new transfer of ownership can take place.

Examples of Chain Of Title

  1. Before purchasing a home, you'll want to hire a title company to conduct a thorough chain of title search to make sure there are no outstanding liens or ownership disputes.
  2. A real estate investor may purchase a distressed property with a clouded chain of title, meaning there are outstanding claims or unclear ownership history. The investor will need to clear up the chain of title before they can sell or develop the property.
  3. A landowner may need to prove their uninterrupted chain of title in court in order to defend against a claim from someone who believes they have a right to the property.

Legal Terms Similar to Chain Of Title

Some related legal terms include:

  • Title search: The process of examining public records to determine the chain of title and uncover any potential ownership issues.
  • Cloud on title: A claim or other issue that casts doubt on the ownership of a property and can make it difficult to conduct a sale or transfer.
  • Lien: A legal claim on a property that can be used to secure a debt or obligation.
  • Encumbrance: Any claim or burden on a property, such as liens, easements, or restrictions, that can affect ownership or use.
  • Quitclaim deed: A type of deed that transfers any ownership interest in a property from one party to another, but does not provide any guarantees as to the state of the chain of title.