What is Lis Pendens?

Roughly translated, “lis pendens” equates to a “pending lawsuit.” Understanding the exact nature of these lawsuits, however, is often much more complicated. Many clients ask what about what exactly the process entails. This article will take a brief look at exactly what lis pendens is as well as situations in which it is used.

The Purpose of Lis Pendens

The purpose of filing a lis pendens is to notify a potential purchaser of the property that there is a current dispute regarding the property’s title. This notification will remain until the lawsuit concerning the property is resolved and the notice is either expunged or released.

Arizona laws regarding lis pendens are located in Arizona Revised Statutes Section 12-1191(a). This law states that in the case of an action affecting a real property title, the plaintiff is able to file in the office of the recorder of the county where the property is located a notice of pendency.

The recent case of Santa Fe Ridge Homeowners’ Association v. Carla Bartschi helped provide information about the situations in which a lis pendens action impacts a real property title. In the case, a legal action was filed against Bartschi claiming relief for her alleged violation of the Santa Fe Ridge Homeowners’ Association terms. While the action was pending, the Santa Fe Ridge Homeowner’s Association filed a lis pendens action against Bartschi’s property. While the trial court granted Bartschi’s request for damages from the lis pendens action, the Santa Fe Ridge Homeowner Association’s action did not affect the property’s real title, and that lis pendens had been prematurely recorded. The Arizona Court of Appeals later ruled that Santa Fe’s action did not influence real property rights and that the Santa Fe Ridge Homeowner’s Association did affect the real property title. This ruling has had an effect on how practitioners in Arizona determine whether a lis pendens action has an impact on property.

Penalties Associated with a Lis Pendens Action

A lis pendens has the potential to be a powerful legal strategy to protect real estate during a lawsuit. Recording a lis pendens, however, can result in some significant penalties and other obstacles including a detrimental influence on the marketability of a person’s title. For this reason, it is often a wise idea to navigate this process with a knowledgeable Arizona lawyer who can make sure that this process concludes positively and does not encounter any problems.

Speak with an Experienced Property Law Attorney

If you need assistance with a lis pendens or any other type of legal action, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced real estate lawyer. Contact Monahan Law Firm today to schedule an initial consultation during which we will outline your various available options. We have helped many people in Arizona navigate a number of real estate cases as well as business transactions and we know what it takes to make sure that your case resolves in the best possible manner.

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