DEFINITION of 'Defective Title'

A piece of property or asset that has a publicly-recorded encumbrance, such as a lien, mortgage or judgment. Because other parties can lay claim to the property or asset, the title cannot be legally transferred to another party. For example, a homeowner cannot sell a home if there is an outstanding tax lien on the property. That lien would first have to be cleared before any action can be taken on the property.

BREAKING DOWN 'Defective Title'

Because the property or asset cannot be legally transferred to another party, the title is considered to be unmarketable. If the title holder wants to be able to do anything, the encumbrances must first be taken care of.

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