Orange County Lis Pendens Lawyer
When filing a lawsuit against another party involving real property California law may require that an official notice of the pending lawsuit be filed with the recorder where the property is located. This notice is often called a Lis Pendens, which translates to “suit pending”. These are also commonly referred to as notice of pendency of actions.
A notice of pendency of action is designed to warn individuals who may seek to gain an interest in the property that the current ownership interests are currently in dispute. The notice of pendency of action usually has the effect of delaying or scaring off potential buyers or lenders who would use a lien or mortgage on the property as collateral for a loan, thus making the property unmarketable. However, notices of pendency of action are not liens or mortgages; they only give public notice of the pending claims.
Notice of pendency of actions must be filed for certain claims on a property including actions to quiet title, partition, or determine adverse interests in property. A notice of pendency of action may also generally be filed in any real property lawsuit where the title, interest rights, or use of a non-public utility easement are at stake. Code Civ. Proc. Section 405.4.
To file a lis pendens a claimant must record a notice of the pending lawsuit in the county recorder’s office. The notice must include the court of the proceedings, the names of all parties, and a description of the property.
Improper Use of Lis Pendens
Although lis pendens are not liens, they make it virtually impossible for a landowner to sell a property with a lis pendens on record. Some attorneys will file these notices in order to avoid the hassle and expense of filing a writ of attachment to gain a court ordered lien on a property. However, improperly filing a lis pendens can often backfire on a party.
A court can award damages for malicious prosecution if it finds that a lis pendens action was brought in bad faith. Additionally, if a property right owner files a motion to remove a lis pendens through expungement the court may grant the property right owner attorneys fees and costs, even if the claimant bringing the lis pendens action voluntarily withdraws it. Further, if a property right owner successfully expunges the filing of a lis pendens they may be eligible to bring a claim for slander of title.
Orange County Notice of Pending Action Lawyer
If you have been served with a notice of a lis pendens it is important to contact an experienced California real estate attorney to learn if the lis pendens was improperly filed and to explore ways to remove the lis pendens from the title. If lis pendens are not removed parties may have to wait until the lawsuit is settled or dismissed in order to clear the title. This can take five years or more in California due to long backlogs in court.
The Law Offices of Tony T. Liu handles real estate litigation including lis pendens motions. Mr. Liu will explore your legal options to get your property rights restored and compensation from the improper use of lis pendens. To schedule a consultation with an experienced California real estate attorney call (714) 415-2007 today.