Recent Story Shows Need for Title Insurance, Competent Legal Advice
A March 11, 2018 story in the Pensacola News Journal involving two sisters who inherited their childhood home from their mother in 2002 may have lost their property due to a clerical error. Records indicate the Lot purchased by their mother in 1947 as 216 Louis Street but indicated the lot as lot number 9. When the owner of 214 Louis Street bought the property, their lot was listed as lot number 8. In other words, the lot numbers for the two homes next door to each other were switched.
The owner of 214 Louis Street took out a mortgage and the mortgage reflected Lot 8. When they failed to make their payments, the mortgage was foreclosed. But, because of the apparent error, the foreclosure was made against Lot 8. The sisters were not aware of the foreclosure until the door to their home was chained. To make matters worse, the sisters recently made extensive renovations to the family home. Now, they are faced with a legal battle which they are fighting in Escambia County Circuit Court.
This story demonstrates the need for title insurance and a survey. Title insurance will indicate the ownership of the property and provide for a defense if title is questioned. A survey would be required to show exactly where on the ground the property is located. A real estate attorney could have resolved these issues long ago with an action known as a “reformation action.” A reformation action is to cure the errors so that the documents are “reformed” to indicate what was originally intended.
This is not intended to be legal advice for any specific situation and the reader should consult their attorney regarding their situation.