Quiet Title Action Statute of Limitations Arizona
In Arizona, the quiet title action is codified in A.R.S. 12-1101 (2003), which provides that an action to "quiet title to real property may be brought . . . against any person or the state when such person or the state claims an estate or interest in the real property." a quiet title action seeks a judicial determination of adverse claims in order to clear the title of disputed property. 74 C.J.S. Quieting Title 1 (2013).
A quiet title action is different from a claim to recover damages resulting from injury. In a quiet title action, the plaintiff asks that the "defendant be barred and forever estopped from having or claiming any right or title to the premises adverse to plaintiff." A.R.S. 12-1102(5) (2003).
The statute of limitations does not run against a plaintiff in possession who brings a quiet title action purely to remove a cloud on the title to his property. See City of Tucson v. Morgan, 13 Ariz. App. 193, 195, 475 P.2d 285, 287 (1970) (citing City of Tucson v. Melnykovich, 10 Ariz. App. 145, 149-50, 457 P.2d 307, 311-12 (1969)).
The same principle is embraced in many other states.
Clary v. Stack Steel & Supply Co., 611 P.2d 80, 83 (Alaska 1980) (stating that "normally no statute of limitations applies to a quiet title action brought by a person in possession of real property");
Muktarian v. Barmby, 63 Cal. 2d 558, 47 Cal. Rptr. 483, 407 P.2d 659, 661 (Cal. 1965) (holding "no statute of limitations runs against a plaintiff seeking to quiet title while he is in possession of the property");
Argyle v. Slemaker, 99 Idaho 544, 585 P.2d 954, 958 (Idaho 1978) (similar);
Peterson v. Hopkins, 210 Mont. 429, 684 P.2d 1061, 1065 (Mont. 1984) (similar);
Batty v. City of Hastings, 63 Neb. 26, 88 N.W. 139, 140 (Neb. 1901) (holding the "lapse of time after the creation of a cloud upon a title will not bar an action by an owner in possession to have it removed");
Viersen v. Boettcher, 1963 OK 262, 387 P.2d 133, 138 (Okla. 1963) (similar);
Bangerter v. Petty, 2009 UT 67, 225 P.3d 874, 878 (Utah 2009) (similar).
But see Vincent Murphy Chevrolet Co. v. U.S., 766 F.2d 449, 452 (10th Cir. 1985) (holding a claim accrues under the Federal Quiet Title Action when a plaintiff has "reasonable awareness that the government claims some interest adverse to the plaintiffs").
In Morgan, we rejected a statute of limitations argument in a quiet title action, explaining that "a cause of action to quiet title for the removal of the cloud on title is a continuous one and never barred by limitations while the cloud exists." 13 Ariz. App. at 195, 475 P.2d at 287.
A cloud on title is "the semblance of a title or interest which . . . appears to be valid and casts a doubt on the validity of the record title." 74 C.J.S. Existing Cloud 12 (2013).
As long as the cloud exists, the statute of limitations does not run against a plaintiff bringing a quiet title action who is in undisturbed possession of his property.4 Morgan, 13 Ariz. App. at 195, 475 P.2d at 287.