Lis Pendens Issues In Arizona Real Estate – Part 1

Are you seeking to buy or sell real property in Arizona that a third-party is or may be claiming an adverse ownership that is disputed? Or, are you claiming an interest in a real property that someone else disputes? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then your next step should be to determine whether a legal action has been filed that affects title to the subject real property.

In Arizona, a filing with the County Recorders Office of a notice of lis pendens, which is Latin for “pending litigation”, places potential buyers on notice that title to the property is involved in real estate litigation of some sort, including but not limited to claims to quiet title, avoidance or to void an allegedly fraudulent transfer, or specific performance for the sale of a home or real property.

Arizona law permits a party to a legal “…action affecting title to real property” to file a lis pendens with the county recorders office where the property is located giving notice that a legal action or defenses to a legal action has been filed. (See Ariz. Rev. Stat. (“A.R.S.”) § 12-1191(A) (2003 & Supp. 2006). In fact, the recording of a lis pendens also prevents a potential future buyer from acquiring any interest in the subject property that is greater than that of the original buyer. Therefore, in Arizona, anyone who acquires property with a lis pendens recorded takes that property subject to the outcome of the lawsuit and may be binding on the purchaser or lender who became involved with the property after the lis pendens was recorded.