A lis pendens gives notice of a pending lawsuit affecting real estate title. A lis pendens is filed in the county in which the subject property is located and identifies the property affected, its owner and the court in which the lawsuit is pending. A cloud on real estate title, lis pendens generally prohibits the affected real estate from being sold or mortgaged. Property owners, consequently, frequently seek the removal of lis pendens from county land records.
Make a written demand for a discharge of lis pendens from the party who filed it. Inform him a discharge is required by law if the litigation is finalized. Demand a discharge if pending litigation does not directly involve the affected real estate. For example, if a legal dispute centers around the sale of a vehicle, a lis pendens should not be filed. Inform the party that an improper lis pendens is a violation of civil law.
File a request with the court to remove the lis pendens. Provide the legal reasons the lis pendens is improper, offering proof, for example, that the lis pendens affects real estate that is not connected to the litigation. If the lawsuit is frivolous and merely intended to harass the property owner, offer proof. Ask the judge to sign an order removing the lis pendens. File any order to remove the lis pendens in the county land records where the property is located.
Check state expiration rules to determine whether the lis pendens is automatically nullified by law after a certain period of time. Compare the filing date to the applicable expiration laws to ascertain whether the lis pendens is void.
Seek legal advice. Each state has different laws relating to lis pendens. Rely on an attorney to determine whether a lis pendens can be legally removed and what the best course of action is to protect against one.
- Do not attempt to provide legal advice to third parties regarding the removal of a lis pendens unless you are a licensed lawyer. The unauthorized practice of law is strictly prohibited in all states.
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