Lis pendens is a Latin term for "suit pending." In a modern application, it is typically used to inform a potential buyer for a piece of real estate that the title to that real estate is in question. There are several reasons a title may be in question.

  • Foreclosure dispute - If the property was previously foreclosed on, the borrower who lost the property may file a lawsuit if he or she thinks the foreclosure was not legal.
  • Divorce dispute - In a divorce, a jointly owned property will be given to one of the two parties involved as determined by a court of law. This can be a very complicated decision if the mortgage was also joint, meaning both parties contributed equally to the cost of ownership of the home. A lawsuit often results from any determination of ownership on a property after divorce.
  • Tax dispute - The IRS can foreclose on a home if the property taxes are not appropriately paid. In this case, the home is often sold at public auction. The previous owner may dispute the sale under legal provisions. The title can be called into question, and a lis pendens notice would be placed on the property.
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