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What is a lis pendens and when is it required under Utah law?

"Lis pendens" is a Latin term often translated as meaning "suit pending."  It is a document which, when properly recorded with a county recorder's office, has the legal effect of putting all persons or entities with an interest in real property on notice that there is litigation pending with regard to that real property.  In certain legal actions, such as an action for partition of real property, a party to the action may be required by statute to file a lis pendens.  If you are involved in a dispute involving real estate or considering a transaction involving real estate, it is important to have legal advice from a competent Utah real estate attorney.

Under the Utah Code, a lis pendens must contain the names of the parties involved in the litigation, the object or purpose of the legal action, and a description of the property affected.  The lis pendens must then be recorded against the subject property in the appropriate county recorder's office.

When purchasing real property in Utah, it is vital to perform an appropriate title search to determine whether clear title to the property can be obtained.  Discovering a lis pendens recorded against the property will put a potential purchaser on notice that there is pending litigation.  The filing of a lis pendens also serves to protect other parties, other than a potential purchaser, who have an interest in the property.  Under Utah Code section 78B-6-1303, a purchaser or encumbrancer of the property is considered to have constructive notice of the pending litigation, even if that purchaser or encumbrancer does not have actual notice or knowledge of the litigation.

Based in Salt Lake City, our attorneys offer legal services to clients throughout Utah.  Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with a Utah real estate lawyer.


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Stephen W. Howard is Utah attorney, practicing as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC.
With offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties, we are pleased to provide legal services to clients throughout Utah.
Call 801-449-1409 to arrange for a confidential initial consultation.

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