San Francisco Real Estate Lawyer for UD/Quiet Title case

Hi -?

I seek an San Francisco lawyer with experience in Unlawful Detainer suits and Quiet Title issues. ?

I purchased a home subject to a lis pendens and the defaulted borrower is threatening to add me as a co-defendant to a bogus quiet title suit if I don’t submit to an exorbitant cash-for-keys price. ?It’s a shakedown.?

I seek a lawyer who could start with an unlawful detainer action, and be prepared for a motion by the borrower to consolidate my UD case with the Quiet Title suit. ?

I have contacted the lawyer I have used for straightforward evictions in the past, and she seems unfamiliar with the scenario I describe above…

Thanks in advance!

? ?I have been in the Bay Area for years. (decades). ? I can give you the names of 2 (maybe 3) attorneys that are totally?familiar?with dealing with “professional” deadbeats. ?I don’t want to list names/numbers on a public forum. ?You can contact me at my alternate email at Leave your phone number and I’ll call you.

Thank you, miket. ?E-mail sent.?

Quiet title is really NOT a bogus suit, despite what you may think. There are attorneys in California that are getting quiet title wins in situations like yours.? The problem with buying foreclosures is that these days, the bank may not actually own what they are selling on the auction block. I invest in homes as well and I always avoid deeds of trusts and mortgages that have MERS on them in their chain of title. Even though I’m just a paralegal, I actually wrote a book on the subject … called CLOUDED TITLES … this is a national problem; not just confined to California.? Buying any kind of REO property puts you at severe risk of being named as a third-party defendant for “getting into the fray”.? These kinds of suits are happening all the time.? You may wish to have your attorney get in touch with me, since I write pleadings for attorneys in foreclosure defense.? I also conduct CLE’s for attorneys and teach chain of title. I recently audited a county’s land records. The results will be out at the end of the month.? Avoid “trust-owned” properties like the plague. These could get you in a world of hurt.? Unfortunate for investors who are looking for a great deal, the problem is that you may not get clear title. Then YOU have the problem, because the lenders selling these REO’s want indemnification from suit.? Dave Krieger

I have no legal background, so JDs and others would be better qualified to comment or question … That said … Challenges to MERS are *not* new and there have been various conflicting court rulings … some findings dispute MERS’ authority and others support MERS’ role. Regardless, majority of lenders are now taking extra care to ensure "i"s are dotted & "t"s crossed (i.e. all paperwork/notices/assignments/recordations made properly) *before* going to trustee sale. Re your comment "avoid trust-owned like plague?.. Hmmm??? Can you be more specific re “trust ownership” issues that might create problems for trustee sale investors? Also, there is an important distinction about ?timing? of any borrower litigation related to a loan or trustee sale. If a lis pendens was filed *post* (after) the trustee sale, the steps buyer (investor) was *not* “on notice” and retains their “bona fide purchaser for value” (BFP) status. BFP protections largely insulate a third party investor and make it more *difficult* for the borrower to drag the BFP (add as party to suit) into litigation vs the lender.

I am a licensed real estate broker in California, so my response is from a brokers viewpoint. The first thing is that, I would NEVER advise a client to purchase a property that has a “Pendency of Action” (lis pendens) recorded. In your case, what that means is a quiet title action was filed at some point prior to the trustee sale. Recording a lis pendens is one of the 5 elements required for a quiet title filing in California. Once that is done, any subsequent buyer IS subject to the outcome of the civil suit to quiet the title. If the plaintiff wins, you have a serious problem, because it is possible the trustee sale could be reversed! If the plaintiff loses, you are in much better shape, but you may want to discuss with a real estate attorney ways to remove any clouds on the title so you have no problem obtaining title insurance. In regards to the previous owner dragging you into the case, it is in their best interest to do so, because your “trustees deed of sale” represents to them an adverse claim to the title! If you want to take the chance, let the case play out and see what happens. Or you can explore an offer of cash for keys, provided they execute a Grant Deed to you upon the payment you agree on. Keep in mind, you only have a Trustees Deed of Sale, which only conveys the rights and interest of the beneficiary (bank), The Grant Deed is still in the name of the previous owner and has not been conveyed.

If you would like any other information regarding real estate transactions in California, you can send me an email at

Take care and good luck,


Dave - I agree that purchasing a property with an active lis-pendens almost certainly insures a legal battle, but I personally think its ridiculous to think every REO somehow has clouded-titled. Bona-fide purchasers for value are afforded some protection from those claims, title co’s are still insuring them (and they wouldn’t if they really thought there was risk), the courts seem to be fine with MERS (even Michigan reversed course on that one). Looks like you have some knowledge on these issues so we are happy to have you here, and appreciate your participation. But please stick to the specific issue - we don’t put up with blanket statements that simply spread fear, especially if they include an ad for a book. Finally, we expect any mention of cases where people are “getting wins” to be backed up by case number. We do actively watch for anti-investor foreclosure wins on this front, and we have not seen any.

The sale being reversed isn’t all that serious for the trustee sale buyer as the trustee/bank would then need to refund the bid. I do agree that buyers should generally avoid buying properties with an active lis-pendens. That said for the really sophisticated buyer it may provide an opportunity - for example if you research the case and find out its resolved, or work to get an agreement with the plaintiff before hand it may give you a big advantage at the sale vs. others that haven’t done that work in advance. For the strongest and bravest every problem is an opportunity. :slight_smile: