cloud on title

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

A claim or dispute about the ownership of or an encumbrance on property. For example, a tax lien on a piece of real estate or a possible claim by the heir of a former owner might create a cloud on the title. Or a past mortgage might have been paid off, but the property documents were never recorded (filed in the public land records). These kinds of potential problems are usually turned up in a title search. (See also: clear title)

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.