Brief Explanation of Lis Pendens

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Real Estate

Lis Pendens is latin for “suit pending.” In the united states it is used as a legal notification that a lawsuit has been filed regarding a real estate: either title to property or claimed ownership interest in it.

Furthermore, in Texas, the claimant must have a real interest, and is NOT seeking monetary damages. This real interest versus monetary damages differentiation implies the following:

1) a party cannot file a Lis Pendens in Texas as a means of preventing the sale of property, and

2) the court is required to expunge a Lis Pendens if the plaintiff cannot prove a real property interest claim.


A Lis Pendens is an affidavit filed in the county clerk’s real property records. It announces that a lawsuit is pending in the relevant court. The purpose is two-fold:

1) to protect the claimants rights to the property in question, and

2) to put all interested parties on notice.


In summary, the Lis Pendens is NOT a lien but rather a notice to ALL that litigation is pending regarding a particular property – a property that the claimant expresses full or partial ownership in.

For your reference, the applicable law can be found in Texas Property Code Section 12.007 et seq. You can find it here (


In as much as Lis Pendens is a notice of proceedings (i.e. notice of underlying civil suit, or litigation), it only holds sway as long as the specific case is ongoing, OR if the case has a judgment or ruling, there are no appeals pending relevant to the case. 

With this in mind, a lis pendens can be removed by a motion to expunge which is essentially a challenge where the claimant must provide “a preponderance of evidence” to support the “...probable validity of the real property claim...” In this case, the onus is on the claimant to prove that their lis pendens is, in fact, valid, and not a means to delay, harass, or otherwise encumber interested parties. In fact, the court is specifically looking for any one of the following conditions, which will invalidate a lis pendens:

1) the pleading on which the notice is based does not contain a real property claim,

2) the claimant fails to establish by a preponderance of the evidence the probable validity of the real property claim, or

3) the person who filed the notice for record did not serve a copy of the notice to each party entitled to a copy under Section 12.007(d).

Keep in mind that the property in question is not free and clear until "a certified copy of an order expunging a notice of lis pendens has been recorded"