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Real Estate Terms & Meanings | Real Estate Dictionary | Property Language Explained |    Oct 23, 2017
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COLOR OF TITLE(US)


A semblance of title. A title that appears and is believed to be good but, due to some defect, cannot or does not transfer the right to land to which it purports; as when the transferor lacks the proper title due to a defect in his chain of title, or does not effect a proper transfer due to a failure of the correct formalities (e.g. a defective deed). A title that has all the appearance of a valid title, but where one or more of the transfers in the chain of title may be irregular: although generally not such as to create "'a complete hiatus in the chain'. Thompson v. Cragg, 24 Tex 582, 597 (1859)", Humphrey v. C. G. Jung Ed. Center, Etc., 624 F.2d 637, 641 (5th Cir. Tex 1980). It may be said that 'color of title' means "the appearance or semblance of title when in fact there is no title at all", ibid. at 641 (McCoy v. Lowrie, 42 Wash.2d 24, 253 P.2d 415, 418 (1953)).
In some jurisdictions, a title by adverse possession may be established in a shorter period if there is a 'color of title', i.e. if the possessor is claiming through a title that appeared valid, provided the claim is made in good faith. (Apodaca v. Hernandez, 61 NM 449, 309 P.2d 177, 180 (1956); Waterman v. Tidewater Associated Oil Co., 213 La 588, 35 So.2d 225, 231 (1947)). In that context, 'color of title' may be considered to be synonymous with claim of title. However, a claim of title is essential in order for possession to ripen into title; whereas color of title may only be a requirement of statute. "In other words, possession under claim of title may ripen into title without color of title, but possession under color of title is ineffective without claim of right", 3 Am.Jur.2d., Adverse Possession (Rochester, NY), § 132. In some jurisdictions color of title requires some paper title, whereas "a 'claim of title' may be shown wholly by parol", Walton v. Sikes, 165 Ga 422, 141 SE 188, 190 (1928). Sometimes called 'apparent title', or in Canada 'colourable title' (Wood v LeBlanc (1904) 34 SCR 627, 635 (Can)). See also juste titre, just title, quitclaim deed, paper title.

Terms in bold are defined elsewhere in the Encyclopedia.
Further explanation of the style of reference material is provided in the User Guide (available to subscribers)

bibliographic references:

10 Thompson on Real Property (2nd ed. Charlottesville, VA: ©1994- ), § 87.12.
3 Am.Jur.2d., Adverse Possession (Rochester, NY), §§ 143–64.
2 Cor.Jur.Sec., Adverse Possession (St. Paul, MN), §§ 106–21.

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abandonment |  bargain |  commission |  cost approach |  démembrements(F) |  easement |  estoppel |  fixture |  good repair |  letter of intent |  licence by estoppel |  money
mortgage-backed security (MBS) | 3 multiple listing |  noscitur a sociis(Lat) |  police power(US)
 |  possibility of reverter |  quiet enjoyment |  real covenant(US) |  rent
spot zoning |  title insurance |  Torrens title system |  multiple listing service (MLS)(US)
 |  unvalued policy |  usufruit(F) |  value |  voluntary waste
 |  wraparound mortgage(US) |  zone a urbaniser (ZUP)(F)