Slander of title
|Slander of title|
Slander of title occurs when someone maliciously or intentionally denies or casts doubt on another's legal ownership of a property. As a result of it, the property's owner may incur financial losses.
Generally, this is considered to be an unlawful act. It simply means a situation in which a person deliberately publishes a false statement about the property and intends to discourage a third person from dealing with the slandered person. For instance, a car dealer would have a lot of difficulties in attracting customers after competitors published a piece of information that the dealer's stock included stolen cars (R. Miller, G. Jentz 2007, p. 122).
Elements of slander of title
Slander of title consists of three essential elements. These are:
- False statements concerning a person's ownership of property,
- Intent to hinder or destroy the owner's use of the property,
- Communication (publication) of nontruth to third parties (C. J. Okrent 2014, p. 240).
False statements concerning a person's ownership of property
Slander of title is committed by someone who makes false statements about another's ownership of property. It usually happens when the title of an individual's property is falsely challenged by another person. Issues involving it mainly relate to real estate and the filing of false liens. In particular, companies that provide services to customers may file liens against the customers' real estate when customers did not pay for the services. As a result of it, the property can not be leased or sold because the lien is attached to the title of the land.
There can also occur a situation when a business menaces to file a lien against a customer who paid everything on time. It means that the lienholder has brought the integrity of the landowner's title into disrepute and it may be a false suggestion to the other people that the landowner has not paid debts to the lienholder. Thus, a falsely filed lien can impair the landowner's ability to use the property, even when the lienholder illegally filed the lien against the landowner (C. J. Okrent 2014, p. 240).
Intent to hinder or destroy the owner's use of the property
The intention of making false statements about ownership is to disrupt the owner's use of the relevant property. It is especially characteristic of a situation in which the lienholder falsely filed the lien in order to hold the landowner back from selling or using the property without paying the supposed debt (C. J. Okrent 2014, p. 240).
Communication (publication) of nontruth to third parties
The false statements about property ownership are generally passed to third parties. When such a piece of information is communicated to the other people, it then becomes a public matter and everybody can have access to it (C. J. Okrent 2014, p. 240).
- Malloy R. P., Smith J. C. (2006), Real Estate, Aspen Publishers, New York, p. 54
- Miller R., Jentz G. (2007), Cengage Advantage Books: Business Law Today: The Essentials, Cengage Learning, Mason, p. 122
- Okrent C. J. (2014), Torts and Personal Injury Law, Cengage Learning, Mason, p. 240
- Tran-Tsai K., Devitt M. (2018), Slander of title: neighbour held responsible for damage, "Law Society Journal", no. 44
- Zak Ritchie J. (2013), A Fresh Look at an Old Tort: Litigating Slander of Title in Mineral Disputes, "West Virginia Law Review", vol. 115, no. 3
Author: Klaudia Nycz