A land patent is the original granting of land rights, usually issued from the federal government and sometimes from a corporation. In most of the United States a land patent was the original transfer to the first owner. The U.S. government initially owned most of the land in the country and created a contract between itself and the original owner of a property which gave absolute ownership of that land to a specific individual. The contract also assigned ownership to the heirs and next owners of the original land contract recipient.
Land patents for real estate can be an important part of current property owners’ rights. The original land patent created ownership rights that are much stronger then every day rights granted on a property deed in today’s environment. A land patent may actually extend somebody’s rights to family members and even through to current owners depending upon the chain a title for that property.
In some cases, a land patent will give you protection as a property owner from certain things happening to that property. For example, sometimes liens are shielded and sometimes even ownership transfers are shielded. So, getting the original land patent to a property, finding out what it shows, what the terms and conditions of that patent were, and then seeing how that matches the current ownership and your perspective use or even defense of liens on the property could be beneficial. Searching back to that land patent and seeing what the actual rights which were conveyed based on that patent may be a way to accrue strong rights to the current owner of the property even if he or she was not the original grantee of that land patent.
Recently, land patent searching has become an important topic in foreclosure defense and how it can affect a foreclosure process. Searching back to the land patent shows all of the underlying original rights granted to that property in the patent from the federal government. Sometimes those rights can be extended as a legal theory to protect from foreclosure. Part of what entails the search is a chain of title which follows ownership back to that patent to see what the ownership structure was like and what the legal investing was.
This past July the San Diego County District Attorney’s office received over $800,000 in restitution for a foreclosure fraud case relative to this. According to San Diego 6 News, in this particular case, “victims were promised that having a recorded land grant or land patent gave them title that was superior to any claim their lender may assert against it. The defendants further promised that even if homeowners were evicted as a result of a foreclosure, they would be able to retain legal possession of the property and could somehow retake possession after the statute of limitations expired.” However, this was not the case. The victims not only lost their homes but also thousands of dollars in the process. Though, the San Diego Economic Crimes Division is diligently working to getting the victims their money back.
If you have any questions about researching land patents, what rights might appear on an original patent, or for more information on obtaining the land patent at your property, please visit titlesearch.com.