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Lis Pendens – Treasure Trove of Information

The other day one of the inspector’s I work with received a letter from a lender dismissively informing her that unless she provided proof via a recorded document that the bank had a connection with the property in question, it would basically ignore her notice of violation regarding code violations on the property.  (She had actually gotten the name of the lender from the law firm representing the bank!) I quickly researched the property on the county’s Recorder of Deeds website and discovered a document known as a lis pendens.  A lis pendens is a document filed by the bank with the local recorder’s office when it files a foreclosure lawsuit against the owner of the property who has a mortgage with the lender.  “Lis pendens” means simply that a lien is pending.  It notifies any potential buyers about the lawsuit.  As I expected, the name of the plaintiff in the lawsuit was the bank denying knowledge of a relationship between it and the property.  I sent the document on to the inspector who planned to compose a pointed letter to the lender.  It reminded me of how important this document can be.  It contains the full name of the lender (plaintiff) and all of the names of the owners and anyone having an interest in the property (defendants).  It contains the case number of the foreclosure suit so anyone can go to the local circuit court clerk and ask to see the file.  It also contains the name of the lawyers representing the lender which means that an inspector has the name, address and telephone number of a live human being he or she can call to get more information about a problem property.  Whenever you see a lis pendens in the chain a title, you know the property is in or has been in foreclosure so use that information to obtain as much information as you need to identify the responsible parties for the property.

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