In 1897 the California Legislature passed an act to provide for the certification of land titles in accordance with the Torrens system, but the system has not become popular, for the reason, perhaps, that the first step is the filing of a verified petition in the Superior Court to have a decree entered bringing the land described in the petition under the operation of the act.
(1.) The act is intended, its advocates claim, to make the State the guarantor of all titles registered under the law; to put beyond possibility of question or contest title to real estate in one in whom title is found to reside; to render laborious search of title unnecessary, and to economize the cost of search; to present at any moment a perfect and guaranteed index of all matters and things relating to or affecting title; to enable the owner of property to so leave his estate, so far as realty is concerned, that it will be practically beyond assault and contest; to simplify the method of transfer and incumbrance, and greatly reduce the cost of the same; to economize in time of transfer, and largely to be preventive of litigation. Finally, it aims to enable an owner of property to clear his title of clouds, and make a judicial record of its actual condition that shall be final and conclusive.
(2.) Land is brought under the operation of the act voluntarily only by petition of the owner and by order of court. The petition sets out all the facts relative to the claim of the owner to the real estate, and is accompanied by a plat of the land, and an abstract of the title made by a searcher who has given official bonds against damages and costs for any error. (3.) The Superior Court sets a time for hearing the application to register and gives notice to all interested (See Form No. 76), and to owners of adjoining lands. Any one interested may appear at the hearing, when evidence may be taken. If it is found that the applicant is the owner, and that all defects in the title have been cured, a decree to that effect is entered, whereupon the County Registrar makes the original certificate of title and proceeds to bring the land under the operation of the act and supplies the owner with a duplicate certificate. (See Form No. 77 )
(4.) The original certificates of title are to be recorded with all memorials and notations of the certificate, or relating to it. Every title certificate is to bear a number corresponding to the folio of registration on the registration books. Every transfer of title is deemed registered, when the new certificate to the transferee has been marked, as in case of the first certificate, and all dealings regarding the land are deemed registered when the memorial or notation is entered on the register. Any one aggrieved by any act or refusal of the Registrar, may bring an action to have the matter determined.
(5.) If part of the land is sold, a new duplicate certificate issues for the unsold portion. The Registrar is to keep all papers filed regarding title and is to furnish copies to any one on demand and payment of a fee therefor, but shall endorse on the copy in red ink, "No rights conveyed hereby."
(6.) An indorsement on a certificate substantially as follows : "I grant to ------ the real property within described," when duly acknowledged, will be sufficient to transfer title. A deed or instrument purporting to deal with registered land - except a will or lease for a year - has only the effect of a contract, and is authority to the Registrar to make note of the transfer, on compliance with the terms of the act. If such an instrument is filed with the Registrar, he notes the fact on the original certificate thus: "transferred," "mortgaged" or otherwise.