Understanding A Lis Pendens
Ask the Real Estate Lawyer: Real Estate Law Q&A
REM #LAW 746
By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin
Summary: A ThinkGlink reader would like to
learn more about a lis pendens, or a notice of a pending law suit regarding
a property. It is used to protect the plaintiff's possible interest against
Q: If a lis pendens is recorded on a property, I know commercial lenders won't
grant a mortgage or otherwise get involved with the property.
(article continues below useful links)
But can private individuals still record a lien on the property? Does a lis
pendens legally prevent the recording of a lien?
And if a private individual records a lien against the property, does this
mean the lien is somehow junior to the lis pendens? How exactly does this work,
since a lis pendens has no dollar value.
A: Simply put a lis pendens is a document recorded against real estate that
gives the world notice of a pending law suit.
To protect the plaintiff’s possible interest in the defendant’s
property (if the plaintiff might be able to collect on the judgment by taking
his or her property), under some circumstances, the plaintiff is permitted to
file a document on the title to that property giving everybody notice of his
or her claim to it. Anybody coming after that date would have to follow the
first party’s claim to the property.
If the plaintiff loses the case, the lis pendens is released. If the plaintiff
wins the case, the property could be sold to satisfy the judgment against the
defendant. If there’s more value in the property than the judgment, other
lien holders, including other people who might have sued the defendant and may
have filed lis pendens would receive the balance.
While the lis pendens has no monetary value, it does protect the plaintiff
from actual or potential claims that may come later. But the actual value of
the lis pendens will not become known until there is a judgment in the case.
Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce
R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your
Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for
them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022
or contact them through Ilyce’s website www.thinkglink.com