chain of title is the sequence of historical transfers of
title to a property. The "chain" runs from the present owner back to the original owner of the property. In situations where documentation of ownership is important, it is often necessary to reconstruct the chain of title. To facilitate this, a record of title documents may be maintained by a registry office or civil law
cloud on title refers to any irregularity in the chain of title of property (usually real property) that would give a reasonable person pause before accepting a conveyance of title. A cloud on title reduces the value and marketability of property because any prospective buyer aware of the cloud will know that they are buying the risk the grantor may not be able to convey good title. Often, the discovery of a cloud on title will provide the grantee a reason to back out of a contract for the sale of real property.