Kumar v. Ramsey

Facts: Undeveloped real estate is subdivided into lots and sold to different buyers. One buyer receives a deed listing the subdivided lots as part of the transfer history of the undeveloped property. The buyer believes they own the entire undeveloped property including the subdivided lots. More than four years pass after the buyer received their deed to the property. Later, construction of a building begins on a lot in the subdivision by another person who claims to hold title. Within four years after commencement of construction, the buyer claiming ownership to the entire undeveloped property discovers the construction and files a quiet title action to recover title.

Claim: The person constructing the building claims a four-year statute of limitations bars the buyer from filing a quiet title action since four years passed since the buyer acquired their deed to the subdivided lots.

Counterclaim: The buyer claims their quiet title action was timely filed since the statute of limitations barring the action does not begin to run until the lot is physically altered by construction and the buyer’s possession is disturbed, not when the buyer received their grant deed.

Holding: A California appeals court holds the buyer claiming to own the undeveloped property timely filed a quiet title action to recover  title since the four-year statute of limitations for bringing the action did not begin to run until the lot was physically altered by the construction of a building. [Kumar v. Ramsey (2021) 71 CA5th 1110]

Read Kumar v. Ramsey in full here.

Related reading:

Legal Aspects

Chapter 36: Quiet title to clear title