Attorney Jim Fletcher helps clients quiet title to tax deeds.
Although O.C.G.A. 48-4-6 provides that a tax deed is considered valid, tax deeds are generally considered unmarketable. 3 Pindar’s Ga. Real Estate Law & Procedure § 26:94 (7th ed.) This is because a closing lawyer and title insurance lawyer cannot independently confirm if the barment procedure was properly conducted, or if one of the adverse claimants had a disability which would have prevented barment. They are not willing to take on the risk.
Georgia law provides two primary methods to quiet title to a tax deed.
First, there is Conventional Quiet Title. This method is usually faster and less expensive. It allows a plaintiff to name as defendants, only certain particular persons or companies whose interest (recorded or unrecorded) is considered to be a “cloud” on the title. It is faster and less expensive. There is no requirement to appoint a special master. O.C.G.A. 23-3-43. Thus, you do not have to wait for the special master to make determinations, nor do you have to pay the special master. This method can be used to quiet title to persons holding tax deeds. O.C.G.A. 23-3-44.
Second, there is Quiet Title Against All the World. This method is more time consuming, but it resolves any adverse claims against not only known adverse claims, but also unknown adverse claims. It is usually more expensive for several reasons. There are more strict requirements for the lawsuit which is filed. O.C.G.A. 23-3-62. Also, a special master must be appointed. O.C.G.A. 23-3-63. That person must be paid. O.C.G.A. 23-3-68. It is also more time consuming because of the time required for the special master to be appointed, for them to determine who is entitled to notice, for notices to be sent to them, and for the special master to make a recommendation to the court. While one may obtain a default judgment quickly in a Conventional Quiet Title, such a judgment cannot be obtained so quickly with Quiet Title Against All the World. This method is available to quiet title to a tax deed. O.C.G.A. 23-3-61. However, Conventional Quiet Title can also be used, and is usually favored. O.C.G.A. 23-3-44.