Time Limit for Filing Quiet Title Action

Inquiry: What is a quiet title action and what is the time limit for filing a quiet title action in Michigan?

Response: A quiet title action is an action seeking to resolve a dispute over who has an interest in real property. (This does not include actions to recover possession of property under summary proceedings such as in a landlord-tenant relationship.) There are different time periods for filing the action depending on who is the plaintiff and who is the defendant, but generally speaking, the lawsuit must be filed within 15 years.

Michigan Compiled Law (“MCL”) 600.5801 Limitation on actions; time periods; defendant claiming title under deed, court-ordered sale, tax deed, or will; other cases.

Sec. 5801.

No person may bring or maintain any action for the recovery or possession of any lands or make any entry upon any lands unless, after the claim or right to make the entry first accrued to himself or to someone through whom he claims, he commences the action or makes the entry within the periods of time prescribed by this section.

(1) When the defendant claims title to the land in question by or through some deed made upon the sale of the premises by an executor, administrator, guardian, or testamentary trustee; or by a sheriff or other proper ministerial officer under the order, judgment, process, or decree of a court or legal tribunal of competent jurisdiction within this state, or by a sheriff upon a mortgage foreclosure sale the period of limitation is 5 years.

(2) When the defendant claims title under some deed made by an officer of this state or of the United States who is authorized to make deeds upon the sale of lands for taxes assessed and levied within this state the period of limitation is 10 years.

(3) When the defendant claims title through a devise in any will, the period of limitation is 15 years after the probate of the will in this state.

(4) In all other cases under this section, the period of limitation is 15 years.

If the state is involved, then see also, MCL 600.5821 Recovery of land; recovery of public ground; personal actions; maintenance, care, and treatment of persons in state institutions.

Sec. 5821

(1) Actions for the recovery of any land where the state is a party are not subject to the periods of limitations, or laches. However, a person who could have asserted claim to title by adverse possession for more than 15 years is entitled to seek any other equitable relief in an action to determine title to the land.

(2) Actions brought by any municipal corporations for the recovery of the possession of any public highway, street, alley, or any other public ground are not subject to the periods of limitations.

(3) The periods of limitations prescribed for personal actions apply equally to personal actions brought in the name of the people of this state, or in the name of any officer, or otherwise for the benefit of this state, subject to the exceptions contained in subsection (4).

(4) Actions brought in the name of the state of Michigan, the people of the state of Michigan, or any political subdivision of the state of Michigan, or in the name of any officer or otherwise for the benefit of the state of Michigan or any political subdivision of the state of Michigan for the recovery of the cost of maintenance, care, and treatment of persons in hospitals, homes, schools, and other state institutions are not subject to the statute of limitations and may be brought at any time without limitation, the provisions of any statute notwithstanding.

Additional Resources:
MCL 211.79a Abandoned property, action to quiet title
MCL 600.2932MCL 600.2932 controlling law quiet title
MCL 600.1605 MCL 600.1605 venue; Michigan Court Rule (“MCR”) 3.411 what to include in complaint
Beaulah Hoagland Appleton Qualifed Pers Residence Trust v Emmet County Rd Comm’n, 236 Mich App 546, 600 NW2d 698 (1999)
Ray v Bentley, 39 Mich App 578, 197 NW2d 827 (1972)
Republic Bank v Modular One LLC, 232 Mich App 444, 591 NW2d 335 (1998)
Related Actions: Adverse Possession, Acquiescence, Wrongful Ejectment MCL 600.2918, Partition MCR 3.401

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