What is a Lis Pendens in Florida Real Estate? (With Example)

What is a lis pendens in real estate?

The lis pendens real statute refers to a notice of a pending lawsuit filed in the public records of the county where a piece of property is located. This doctrine can be difficult to navigate on your own, so this guide will help you navigate any lis pendens situations.

What is a Lis Pendens in Real Estate?

Those unfamiliar with real estate can quickly find themselves overwhelmed by the legal jargon. For instance, many people have to ask, “what does lis pendens mean in real estate?”

A lis pendens is a formal notice that a lawsuit has been filed against a piece of property. The doctrine of lis pendens is based on the concept that the public has a right to know when a lawsuit has been filed against property and is often used in foreclosure proceedings.

Legal Term: Lis Pendens Definition

So, what is a notice of lis pendens? According to Florida real estate statutes, the term lis pendens means “a notice of a pending lawsuit” and refers to a notice filed with the county’s public records where the property in question is located. The purpose of a lis pendens is to provide the public with notice of a pending lawsuit to protect the rights of any potential property buyers.

What is Lis Pendens When Translated from Latin?

The “notice of lis pendens” meaning, when transferred from Latin, is literally “suit pending.”

Lis Pendens Example

In the state of Florida, the doctrine of lis pendens is primarily used in real estate foreclosure proceedings. When a foreclosure action is filed in the public records, it triggers the notice of lis pendens on a property.

This notice is then recorded in the public records at the county courthouse, and a copy of the notice will be sent to the property owner. This ensures that the owner is aware of the pending foreclosure action and allows the owner to pause the foreclosure action if desired.

Reasons to File a Lis Pendens

There are several reasons to file a lis pendens, including cases of a real estate dispute resolution procedure and protecting a property owner.

A few of the most common reasons to file a lis pendens include:

Lis Pendens in Foreclosure

A notice of lis pendens foreclosure is filed when a foreclosure action is filed in the county public records. A lis pendens notice will be recorded in the county public records, and a copy of the notice will be sent to the property owner.

Lis Pendens in Contract Disputes

The doctrine of lis pendens is also commonly used in real estate contract disputes. Generally, a lis pendens will be filed when one party to a real estate contract disputes the actions of another party.

For instance, a lis pendens will be filed when one party to a real estate contract attempts to perform on the contract but is hindered by another party who refuses to act on their obligations under the contract.

Lis Pendens on a Property in Marital Disputes and Divorce Proceedings

When a marital dispute or divorce proceeding is filed, a lis pendens notice is filed on the property to protect the property from being sold by the spouse who is seeking to keep the property. Properties under a lis pendens in a divorce proceeding are often sealed from the public until the divorce is finalized. 

Who Can File a Lis Pendens Notice?

A lis pendens notice can be filed by any person interested in a property, including the property owner, a lienholder, or a tenant.

How to File a Lis Pendens in Florida

When filing a lis pendens in Florida, the following steps must be met:

Drafting of the Lis Pendens

The first step in filing a lis pendens in Florida is drafting the notice. A lis pendens can be prepared by the person who intends to file the notice, or an attorney can draft it. The lis pendens will generally contain information about the lawsuit that has been filed and the property that is subject to the suit.

Servicing of the Lis Pendens

Once the lis pendens has been drafted, it must be served to all parties involved in the pending case, especially the property owner. In Florida, a lis pendens must be served by certified mail.

Recording of the Lis Pendens

Upon the receipt of the notice of lis pendens Florida forms, the lis pendens must be recorded in the public records at the county clerk’s office.

Filing the Lis Pendens with the Court of Law

The lis pendens must then be filed with the court of law. In Florida, the lis pendens is filed with the circuit court and also works to further notify the other parties involved in the pending case should they not have received their copies via certified mail.

What Happens After Lis Pendens is Filed?

When a lis pendens notice is filed in Florida, a copy of the notice will be recorded in the public records of the county where the property is located. Once the notice is recorded, a copy will be sent to the property owner at the address of record on the property.

How Long Does a Lis Pendens Last?

In most cases, a lis pendens will be filed for 30 days to allow the property owner to resolve the issue without the risk of losing their home. However, in most cases, a lis pendens expires after 1 year if no actions have been taken.

How Long from Notice of Lis Pendens to Foreclosure?

It can take up to 15 months between filing a lis pendens notice and the foreclosure of the property in question.

How to Remove a Lis Pendens in Florida

To remove or dissolve lis pendens in Florida, the property owner must file a motion to dissolve lis pendens with the court clerk. To expunge a lis pendens, then at least one of the following criteria must be met:

A Notice of Lis Pendens Null and Void Has Been Filed

If a notice of lis pendens is deemed null and void, it can be expunged. For example, if a notice of lis pendens was filed without being served upon the owner of the property, then it can be expunged.

The Person Filing the Claim Has Not Provided Probable Validity of the Claim

If the person who filed the claim cannot provide sufficient evidence that their claim has probable validity, it can be expunged. For example, if a plaintiff files a complaint but cannot provide evidence to back up their claims, the expunge notice of lis pendens is often filed as a defensive measure.

Claimant Fails to File an Undertaking

An undertaking is a document filed with the court by the person filing the claim. It contains specific promises, such as providing the defendant with certain documents or appearing in court at a particular time. If the person filing the claim fails to provide the undertaking to the court, the expunge notice of lis pendens may be filed.

Should any of the above criteria be met, then a release of notice of lis pendens may be filed and the lis pendens will be removed.

Need Help with Lis Pendens Real Estate Law?

Whether you are preparing to enter into a real estate partnership or have received a notice of a pending suit, you need to work with a trained Florida real estate lawyer from Cueto Law Group to ensure you are fully aware of all that is to come.

Contact our team today to get started or to get your questions answered.

Our Final Thoughts on the Use of Notice of Lis Pendens in Florida

As you can see, the lis pendens process protects the property owner’s rights. If a lis pendens is filed against your property, consider working with Cueto Law Group to ensure that you are fully aware of your rights and can make the best decision for your future.

FAQs

Can You Sell a Property with a Lis Pendens?

Yes, you can sell a property with a lis pendens on it. However, if the property is sold before the pending suit is settled, there will be several additional steps that will need to be taken before the deed can be transferred to the new owner.

How Much Does It Cost to File a Lis Pendens?

The fees associated with filing a lis pendens can vary depending on the county you are filing in, making it hard to give a set answer as to how much it will cost to file a lis pendens. Contact our team today or reach out to your county clerk’s office.

Is a Lis Pendens a Lien?

When it comes down to lis pendens vs lien, it’s important to note that they are not the same. A lis pendens is often considered a potential lien, meaning it is a potential claim against the property. A lien is a claim that is already in place against it.