A lis pendens, properly referred to as a “Notice of Pendency of Action,” is a very simple document which, in California, is recorded against real property after a lawsuit is filed with the court. A lis pendens creates a lien against the affected property for any judgment obtained in the lawsuit.
Just filing a lawsuit, however, does not necessarily entitle a plaintiff to record a lis pendens. Only those plaintiffs who assert a real property claim in the lawsuit may record a lis pendens. This means the lawsuit must allege a claim to the property itself. If, for example, the lawsuit merely seeks damages, that is not a real property claim.
A properly used lis pendens can be a very effective tool since it places a lien on the property which typically prevents the owner of the property to sell the property or borrow against the property until after resolving the lawsuit.
I regularly represent clients in lawsuits involving lis pendens’. If you have questions, or need representation by a California real estate lawyer in an action involving a real property claim or a lis pendens, please feel free to contact me to arrange for a consultation at (510) 465-0025.