What is a lis pendens in real estate?

What is a lis pendens in real estate?


A lis pendens, which is Latin for “suit pending,” is a legal notice filed in real estate to inform potential buyers or lenders that a property is involved in a lawsuit. This article will delve into the concept of lis pendens, its purpose, how it affects real estate transactions, and the necessary steps to address it.

Understanding Lis Pendens

A lis pendens is typically filed when there is a dispute or claim against a property, such as a foreclosure, divorce, or boundary dispute. It serves as a public notice that a legal action is pending, and it alerts interested parties that the property’s ownership may be affected by the outcome of the lawsuit.

When a lis pendens is recorded, it creates a cloud on the property’s title, making it difficult to sell or obtain financing. This is because potential buyers or lenders may be hesitant to get involved in a property with unresolved legal issues. However, it is important to note that a lis pendens does not automatically prevent a property from being sold or refinanced.

Effects on Real Estate Transactions

The presence of a lis pendens can complicate real estate transactions. It may deter potential buyers or lenders from proceeding with a deal due to the uncertainty surrounding the property’s ownership. Additionally, if a lis pendens is discovered during a title search, it may require additional legal steps to resolve the issue before the transaction can proceed.

For buyers, it is crucial to conduct thorough due diligence before purchasing a property. This includes obtaining a title search and working closely with a real estate attorney who can identify any lis pendens or other legal encumbrances on the property. By being aware of any potential issues upfront, buyers can make informed decisions and mitigate risks.

For lenders, a lis pendens can affect the property’s value and the borrower’s ability to repay the loan. Lenders may require additional documentation or higher interest rates to compensate for the potential risks associated with the pending litigation. In some cases, lenders may choose not to provide financing until the lis pendens is resolved.

Resolving Lis Pendens

To address a lis pendens, the parties involved in the lawsuit must reach a resolution or have a court ruling that removes the cloud on the property’s title. This can be achieved through various means, including settlement negotiations, mediation, or a court judgment. Once the legal dispute is resolved, the lis pendens can be lifted, and the property’s title can be cleared.

It is important for property owners to actively participate in the legal proceedings to expedite the resolution of the lis pendens. Ignoring the lawsuit or failing to respond to legal notices can prolong the process and further complicate real estate transactions.


In summary, a lis pendens is a legal notice filed in real estate to inform interested parties that a property is involved in a lawsuit. It creates a cloud on the property’s title, potentially impacting its sale or financing. Buyers and lenders should exercise caution when dealing with properties subject to a lis pendens and conduct thorough due diligence to understand the potential risks involved. Resolving the underlying legal dispute is essential to lift the lis pendens and clear the property’s title.


– Nolo: www.nolo.com
– Investopedia: www.investopedia.com
– LegalMatch: www.legalmatch.com