Legalese 2009 (Week 48)


cloud on title – a semblance of title, either legal or equitable, or a claim or a right in real property, appearing in some legal form but which is, in fact, invalid or which would be inequitable to enforce (see Comments and Cases on Property, p. 208 [2007]).


Art. 476. Whenever there is a cloud on title to real property or an interest therein, by reason of any instrument, record, claim, encumbrance or proceeding which is apparently valid or effective but is in truth and in fact invalid, ineffective, voidable, or unenforceable, and may be prejudicial to said title, an action may be brought to remove such cloud or to quiet the title.

An action may also be brought to prevent a cloud from being cast upon title to real property or any interest therein. (Civil Code)


Quieting of title assumes that the defect in the instrument is not apparent on its face and therefore, has to be proved by extrinsic evidence. Where the instrument is invalid or ineffective on its face, no evidence is required to prove title or interest; no cloud exists for which an action may be brought to remove the cloud. Thus, where the consideration stated in the deed of sale is illegal, there is no cloud because the contract is invalid on its face.


Is there a cloud on title where the donee traces its claim of ownership over the disputed property to a valid contract of donation which is yet to be revoked for failure of the donee to comply with the condition in the donation? (see Comments and Cases on Property, p. 213 [2007]).