What it Means When a Lis Pendens is Filed

Lis pendens, which is Latin for “suit pending,” is a notice declaring that a lawsuit has been filed in regards to land or property. If you receive a notice of default followed by a notice of lis pendens at the beginning of the foreclosure process, it means that a notice has been put on public record that a foreclosure has been filed against your property and the notice will appear in any title report that is pulled and in the public record.

Reasons for filing a lis pendens

While foreclosure is one reason, lis pendens get filed in Florida for several other reasons as well. Primarily, they involve a dispute in ownership interests of real property, especially in cases of divorce or when wills are contested. But a lis pendens can also be filed because of title changes on a property, delinquent mortgage, property tax payments, or unsafe conditions.

Once a lis pendens is filed, notice is officially recorded in the property’s county recording office and that record is reflected in any title reports, which can make buying and selling the property extremely difficult. When a lis pendens is in place, purchasers are put on notice aware that someone else has claims on the property and that there is litigation pending.

Can you remove a lis pendens?

Yes, but only once the lawsuit has been settled or resolved, which can take months and even years. The lis pendens can be resolved in or out of court if an agreement can be reached against the title owner and the filer of the lis pendens. In Florida, a lis pendens will expire after 1 year if no action has been taken. To officially remove a lis pendens, it must be expunged or withdrawn and this must be recorded according to state and local requirements.

If you have questions about what it a lis pendens means in Florida and what you can do to defend yourself against foreclosure, get in touch with us at Silverberg|Brito, PLLC for legal guidance and/or advice.

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