The told story: Love Thy Neighbor~ An acre+ of land in Orange County with amazing canyon, RSM & reservoir views, had been in litigation since roughly 2005 due to a lis pendens lawsuit filed by a neighbor. How did this “lis pendens” drag the price from $550,000, causing the owner to lose the land and to being offered today at $99,000 by the bank? Find out!!

The told story:  Love Thy Neighbor 

First, let's discuss what a lis pendens in Real Estate means!  It simply states that there is a "Notice of Pending Action" on a property.  In other words, it is a notice to the world that there is a lawsuit regarding title to that real estate. A lis pendens is NOT a lien and it cannot stop someone from selling or getting a loan secured by real property, however, it usually DOES effectively deter others from selling or borrowing money because it means the ownership rights to that property are in question.

A lis pendens is permitted in some types of lawsuits and actually required in other types of actions. It is required in lawsuits for Partition, Eminent Domain, Quiet Title, Claims to Escheted Property, Forefeiture Proceedings, and Actions to Declare a Building Uninhabitable. It is permitted in other types of cases where someone has a real property claim such as mechanic's lien foreclosure lawsuits, divorces, suits to enforce easement rights, and suits to specifically enforce a real estate contract. It is critical, however, to consult a Real Estate litigation lawyer who is familiar with these laws because you may be subject to liability later for improperly filing a lis pendens.

California law relating to lis pendens filings is found in the California Code of Civil Procedure starting with section 405. There are a number of strict procedural requirements that must be followed in order to properly prepare, serve and record a lis pendens. There is a danger that if the lis pendens is not proper the owner of the property may be able to recover attorney's fees and costs from you for the cost of bringing a motion to remove the lis pendens. This procedure is called a motion to expunge lis pendens. (See C.C.P. § 405.30 et seq).  Alternatively, the owner of the property may be able to force you to post a bond as a condition of keeping the lis pendens recorded.

A notice of pending action cannot be recorded unless it is either signed by an attorney or approved by a judge if the person who wants to record it does not have a lawyer and is representing themselves. Additionally, before the lis pendens can be recorded, it must first be mailed by registered or certified mail to the parties listed in the code. A proper proof of service must be attached to the lis pendens to prove it was served in the manner required by the code.

If a party wants to challenge the lis pendens, they will do so by bringing a motion to "expunge" the lis pendens. Any mistake in the service and filing of the lis pendens can result in the expungement of the lis pendens and possible liability for attorney's fees and costs. 

So the story goes as so…  

An acre+ of land in Orange County with amazing canyon, RSM & reservoir views, had been in litigation since roughly 2005 due to a lis pendens lawsuit filed by a neighbor.  How did this "lis pendens" drag the price from $550,000, causing the owner to lose the land and to being offered today at $99,000 by the bank?  Apparently the previous owner, acquired this land for $550,000 in May 2005.  Went through a lis pendes that was placed by the angry neighbor who took her to court and lost, then the appalet court and lost, and then finally the superior court and lost.  The lis pendens has been lifted but unfortunatley, the previous owner has either defaulted on the loan or the bank called the 5-year-adjustable mortgage that she had which in turn caused her to lose the property through foreclosure.  

It's also been told that the previous owner, attorney herself, was paid for attorney fees.  However, both parties lost.  The neighbor lost in court multiple times and the previous owner ended up losing the land.  The angry neighbor is still there and he walks up to every prospective buyer he catches until today and explains to them why they shouldn't buy this land.  

Today, Deutsche Bank owns the land and has it listed with us here at Codlwell Banker for only $99,000.  

Moral of the story:  Love Thy Neighbor!

— Salee Zawerbek, Your Personal Real Estate Consultant For LIFE!

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