Even real estate attorneys who handle real property litigation are often confused about the lis pendens and when it is appropriate. A lis pendens is also called a Notice of Pending Action. A party who files a lawsuit which affects ownership or possession of a piece of property can (or sometimes must) file in the court and record with the registrar a lis pendens. The problem is that a lis pendens, while meant to be simply a notice to others that there is litigation relating to the property, often acts as a complete bar to the property owner doing anything with his or her property. In other words, the improperly used lis pendens can be used as a writ of attachment (freezing the property), usually as a means of extorting a settlement. Both purposes are wrong but what can a property owner do about it?
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