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Did You Receive a Notice of Lis Pendens?

Did You Receive a Notice of Lis Pendens?

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Lis pendens, a Latin term that means “pending litigation,” is a notice pronouncing that a suit has been lodged against a property. This notice can hurt the sale price or likelihood of a sale because any pending lawsuits are usually disadvantageous to the owner. A notice of Lis Pendens warns potential homebuyers that there is litigation concerning the property such as a foreclosure or dispute in the ownership of a property and a lawsuit has already been filed.

Common Reasons for Filing a Lis Pendens

Ownership Interest

Anybody disputing ownership of a property can lodge a lis pendens. Spouses splitting assets during a divorce or beneficiaries contesting ownership of the decedent’s estate (perhaps by challenging a will) can file a lis pendens.

Unpaid Charges

A lis pendens can be filed against a person who is late on payments. The local government or lender may, for instance, file a lis pendens against a person who is behind on his or her property taxes or mortgage payments.

Title Transfer

A lis pendens is also an important part of changing a property’s title. Buyers and lenders often purchase title insurance to cover the potential legal expenses the process might require.


Foreclosure is the act of seizing a mortgaged home when the mortgagor is unable to meet his or her mortgage payment obligations. In some states, the lender will need to file a lis pendens before foreclosing a home. In other states, filing a notice of default would be enough.

Is a Lis Pendens Notice Contestable?

A homeowner can contest a lis pendens notice when he or she strongly feels it’s inappropriate. The homeowner must demonstrate that the lis pendens isn’t directly related to the property claim. For instance, if an independent contractor has sued a homeowner for breach of contract and requested a lien on the home since the owner failed to pay for the services rendered, the homeowner can argue that the litigation is specifically for breach of contract seeking damages and isn’t concerned with a property claim.

Another way a homeowner might get a lis pendens removed is by filing a motion to remove with the court. He or she can then demonstrate that there is little or no proof that the complainant in the suit will prove ownership of the real estate property at the hearing. The homeowner can increase the odds of having the lis pendens notice removed or expunged by working with a real estate attorney.

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