Clear title

Clear title
See also

A clear title can be defined simply as the term which is used in order to claim that the owner of some real property owns it freely and out of any impediments and obstacles [1]. There are other forms of the term: “good title”, "just title,” or "free and clear title”. The term is used in various fields of science such as finance, economics, law or business.

The clear title can be also explained as the title given to an owner who owns the property directly and with no restrictions, for example levies or liens. When a person or a company is granted the clear title, it is obvious who the owner of the property is, as well as there is not any chance that someone else can question and dispute the ownership. What is more, there is no point for this person or a company to make any form of legal claim to this property. What is more, the term is used to claim that even though the owner of a property or an asset is not granted the clear title, it is still the power and responsibility of the owner to transfer the clear title. Another definition of the clear title defines it as ownership claims to a property or an asset which is free of any encumbrance, for example:

  • liens
  • pending judgments
  • court-attachments
  • or claims

and, therefore, it can be claimed the property is marketable [2].

The concept of the clear title

To explain the concept of the clear title, the following example is presented – an owner of any property or an asset, for example a motorcycle that is granted the clear title is the only and unquestionable owner [3]. In this case any other party cannot issue any form of legal claim to the ownership of this property.

Issues and restrictions

There are some issues and restrictions which may preclude a title from becoming the clear title. These obstacles with the property or the asset can be strictly related to the property itself which may provoke the obviation of the clear title. It can be noticed in the case when there are some violations related to building code which have been neither addressed nor fixed. This situation may cause being granted so-called “dirty title” which would affect the sale of the asset or the property badly or would conflict with the ownership.

Another problem may appear when there are one or even more liens on the asset or the property and because of that it may also cause that the clear title will not be granted to a person or a company. The liens can be described as an issue that can be placed on the asset or the property by a creditor in order to charge money which the person owes to him or her. In the case when there is a lien on the asset or the property, the owner cannot sell it before he or she will pay the creditor. Another solution is the sale of the property or the asset and making use of the money to pay the debt to the creditor [4].

There is also a problem with being granted the clear title when a property or an asset, for example an apartment or a house, has been transferred among the members of a family for many generations. It may cause that it may not be precisely determined the legal or original owner of the property or that there is more than one owner of it.


  1. Long C., (2014)
  2. Long C., (2014)
  3. Malloy P. R., (2015)
  4. Long C., (2014)


Author: Jakub Chmiel