A lis pendens, also known in some jurisdictions as “Notice of Pendency of Action” or “Notice of Commencement of Action”, is a legal document which serves to provide constructive notice pursuant to state law that a legal action (lawsuit) has been commenced in which an interest in certain real property is being claimed or asserted in the action. The literal translation of lis pendens is “a pending suit”.
A lis pendens is not a lien on property, but rather a notice that a possible interest is being claimed in certain real property. The filing or recordation of a lis pendens in the public records establishes constructive notice from the date of recording to subsequent purchasers, encumbrancers, creditors, and other third parties that a lawsuit is pending that involves an interest in the subject real property or may affect title to the subject property. The recording of a lis pendens establishes the priority of the claim of interest in the land. When there is a lis pendens of record, anyone acquiring an interest in the subject property is subject to and will be bound by the outcome of the pending lawsuit.
A lis pendens must contain certain statutorily required information including the parties to the action and the specific description of the property involved. Agents should not pass on or determine the validity of a recorded lis pendens based upon a technical deficiency in the notice.