House Study Bill 31 - Introduced HOUSE FILE _____ BY (PROPOSED COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY BILL BY CHAIRPERSON BALTIMORE) A BILL FOR An Act relating to attorney fees and court costs in an action 1 to quiet title after a request for a quitclaim deed. 2 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA: 3 TLSB 1770YC (3) 87 jh/sc
H.F. _____ Section 1. Section 649.5, Code 2017, is amended to read as 1 follows: 2 649.5 Demand for quitclaim —— attorney fees. 3 1. If a party, twenty days or more before Before bringing 4 suit to quiet a title to real estate, requests of a party 5 may make a written request to the person holding an apparent 6 adverse interest or right therein the execution of a in the 7 property asking that such person, and that person’s spouse 8 if any, execute, have acknowledged, and deliver a quitclaim 9 deed thereto, and also tenders to the person one dollar and 10 twenty-five cents to the property to such requesting party. 11 2. The written request described in subsection 1 shall 12 include a draft quitclaim deed to the property, a copy of this 13 section, a self-addressed stamped envelope, and fifty dollars 14 to cover the expense of the execution , acknowledgment, and 15 delivery of the deed , and if . 16 3. If the person refuses or neglects holding an apparent 17 adverse interest or right in the property fails to comply 18 within twenty days of receiving the written request , the filing 19 of a disclaimer of interest or right shall not avoid the costs 20 in an action afterwards brought, and the court may , in its 21 discretion, if the plaintiff succeeds, assess, in addition 22 to the ordinary costs of court, an a reasonable attorney 23 fee for plaintiff’s the requesting party’s attorney , not 24 exceeding twenty-five dollars if there is but a single tract 25 not exceeding forty acres in extent, or a single lot in a city, 26 involved, and forty dollars, if but a single tract exceeding 27 forty acres and not more than eighty acres. In cases in which 28 two or more tracts are included that may not be embraced in one 29 description, or single tracts covering more than eighty acres, 30 or two or more city lots, a reasonable fee may be assessed, not 31 exceeding, proportionately, those provided for in this section . 32 EXPLANATION 33 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with 34 the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly. 35 -1- LSB 1770YC (3) 87 jh/sc 1/ 3
H.F. _____ This bill makes changes to Code section 649.5, relating 1 to attorney fees and court costs for a party who succeeds in 2 an action to quiet title and who requested a quitclaim deed 3 from the party holding an apparent adverse interest prior to 4 bringing the action to quiet title. 5 Under current law, if the defendant in an action to quiet 6 title appears before the court and disclaims all right and 7 title adverse to the plaintiff, the defendant recovers the 8 defendant’s costs. However, if 20 days prior to bringing 9 suit, the party seeking to quiet title requests a quitclaim 10 deed from the party holding an apparent adverse interest, and 11 the adverse party refuses to deliver the requested quitclaim 12 deed, the adverse party cannot avoid the costs of the action 13 by disclaiming all right and title in the property. Instead, 14 if the plaintiff succeeds, the court has the discretion to 15 assess the ordinary costs of court and an attorney fee for the 16 plaintiff’s attorney. The attorney fee cannot exceed $25 if 17 the property in dispute is only a single tract not exceeding 18 40 acres or is a single lot in a city. The attorney fee cannot 19 exceed $40 if the property in dispute is only a single tract 20 greater than 40 acres but less than 80 acres. If the property 21 is two or more tracts which are not contained in a single 22 description, or a single tract covering more than 80 acres, 23 or two or more city lots, the attorney fee is a reasonable 24 fee, not to exceed, proportionally, the attorney fees with a 25 specified dollar amount. 26 The bill amends current law to specify that the court may 27 assess a reasonable attorney fee, regardless of the size of the 28 property or the number of tracts or lots. 29 Under current law, when a party requests a quitclaim deed, 30 the party must provide $1.25 to the person with an apparent 31 adverse interest to cover the expense of the execution and 32 delivery of the deed. The bill provides that the party 33 requesting the quitclaim deed provide $50 to the person with 34 an apparent adverse interest to cover the expense of the 35 -2- LSB 1770YC (3) 87 jh/sc 2/ 3
H.F. _____ execution, acknowledgment, and delivery of the deed. The bill 1 also requires the person making the request for the quitclaim 2 deed to do so in writing, and to include, in addition to the 3 $50, a draft of the quitclaim deed, a copy of Code section 4 649.5, and a self-addressed stamped envelope. 5 -3- LSB 1770YC (3) 87 jh/sc 3/ 3