What do we need to do to get a section of land that our house physically sits on but that we don’t own?

We purchased our first house 2 1/2 years ago. Several months later we discovered that we don’t own the land that part of our house sits on. We researched the titles and discovered that the county bought it at auction but the last owner of it, who lost it to foreclosure, is still listed as the owner. We filed a claim with our title company and they denied it because they said we did have some kind of specialized mapping done. We can’t get the permits we need to fix our foundation and worry about what we are going to do when we want to sell.

Asked on September 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You better get a lawyer in this situation because the former owner, the bank, the real estate broker, the mortgage broker and the title company all duped you. Somewhere along the way someone should have informed you of the situation you now find yourselves in to have allowed you to back out of the deal because you do not have marketable title and there is a cloud on the title. Talk to a land use/real estate attorney in your state who has significant litigation experiences suing these types of entities and begin the process with letters. Sometimes letters from counsel will go a lot farther than filed lawsuits, which are usually the last straw.

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