What Can I Do if a Lis Pendens is Wrongfully filed?


A lis pendens, or Notice of Pendency of Action, is a legal notice which is filed with the recorder’s office that provides notice that there is legal action pending against the parcel of real property at issue. This area of law can be complicated, but at a minimum, it is important to understand that a lis pendens action can prevent sales and other legal transactions with respect to your real property, as the property will be found to not have “clear title” upon a basic title search.  A California real estate attorney can help you and your business resolve all matters related to lis pendens notices.

The Basics of Lis Pendens in California

In much the same way that a recorded property deed gives notice of an ownership interest, a Notice of Pendency of Action gives notice of a legal interest in real property. Both types of notice are considered to be “constructive”. This means that even if a third party does not actually find the recorded notice, he or she could have with a simple search and is legally deemed to have received notice of the action. The third party is therefore bound to the notice whether or not it was actually discovered.

Notices of Pendency of Action are governed by Section 405 of the California Code of Civil Procedure. This Code section sets forth the procedure for filing a Notice against a parcel of real estate. Other Code sections specify the circumstances in which a Notice may be filed. These include: commencement of an action for quiet title, eminent domain, lost records, or partition; in actions to abate public nuisances; in escheat actions for estates with no legal heirs; at the start of forfeiture actions for criminal profiteering activities upon the land; and many other circumstances in which legal interests in the property must be determined by a court.

But what if a Notice of Pendency of Action has been wrongfully filed against land that you or your company owns? This improper Notice creates a cloud on the title, which can prevent you from selling or otherwise exercising ownership rights in the land. In some cases, a real estate attorney can resolve the mistake with the other party or its attorney, and the other party will remove its recorded Notice voluntarily. In other cases, the other party refuses to do so, and the rightful owner must file a lawsuit (or file a motion within the already-existing lawsuit) in order to resolve the matter of the Notice. In either case, the issue will be resolved faster and cheaper with an experienced real estate attorney handling the matter.

Real Estate Experience Leads to the Best Possible Deal

At the Structure Law Group, our highly skilled real estate attorneys have extensive experience in making deals and adding value for our clients. We will ensure that you get the best real estate deal possible while protecting your legal interests, as well. Call (408) 441-7500 or email slgadmin@structurelaw.com to schedule your consultation with an experienced California real estate attorney.