by KENNY TAN and JEAN RILEY

Helping Inform Homeowners

What Can You Do To Get Title Back If You Lost It On A Forged Deed?

Imagine waking up one morning and being told by your real estate agent that you no longer own your home. Astonished, you ask, “How is that possible? I didn’t sign any deeds!”

What happened was that a deed transferring your home to a stranger was recorded without your knowledge. Someone has forged your signature on a deed. One can only imagine what it feels like if it happens to you: Scared? Paranoid? Angry? Worried? The feelings are mixed, I’m sure.

There’s not even title insurance that can protect you from an incident like this. To get title back, you can hire a real estate attorney to file what is called a quiet title action. That is simply a lawsuit to get back title. But, of course, that is a very expensive option for an average person.

It used to be that that was the only option. But fortunately, the law changed in 2015. Now you can get title back through the criminal court. But before you feel a sense of relief, you should know that for this process to work, the DA would have to catch the person who forged your deed. Usually that is logically possible because who else except the grantee has the incentive to forge your deed? Just file a complaint with the real estate fraud and the DA will take it from there.

After the criminal has been convicted, the new law gives the prosecutor the ability to file a motion on your behalf to have the documents declared null and void. Still that doesn’t exactly mean title to the property automatically switches back to you. Once the court orders are recorded, the title company that searches the county records would see them and conclude that the property now belongs to you.

There’s still some remaining work for your civil attorney. You will likely spend some money getting things taken care of from there. The amount of money you have to spend to do that is much less than a full quiet title action, but this is still the least expensive option you have.


rew_centermaclogoKenny Tan

Attorney and Broker
BRE # 01398070
NMLS # 1371511
Kenny.Tan@Centermac.com
858-598-3008

Jean Riley

Professional Real Estate Consultant
BRE # 02004228
Jean@CentermacSD.com
858-598-3888

Centermac SD, Inc.

9888 Carroll Centre Rd., Ste 200
San Diego, CA 92126