Void and Voidable Title

Question 4/29/06

        The study aide made a big distinction between void title/deed and a voidable title/deed. Although someone with voidable title (due to fraud) in chattels has the power (not right) under UCC to transfer good title in chattels to a good-faith purchaser, someone with a void title or forged deed has nothing to transfer. Is the distinction here between "void" and "voidable" or between "title to chattels" and "deeds to real property" or both?

Karjala Response 4/30/06

        The distinction is between "void" and "voidable" and not between real and personal property, although of course you must keep in mind that the UCC only applies to personal property. The key point is that in many cases the law tries to place the loss, as between two relatively innocent parties, on the party who was in the best position to prevent the problem from arising in the first place. So, a record owner of real property retains power to convey good title to a BFP, who wins over a prior unrecorded grantee, because the first grantee could have protected himself by recording. Similarly, some people with voidable title to personal property retain under the UCC the power to convey good title to BFPs, because in most cases those holding voidable title got possession (the most common indicator of title for personal property) by voluntary transfer from the owner, who could have picked his agents more carefully.