Recording the Lawsuit to Foreclose a Mechanic’s Lien

Most of us know by now the power of recording a mechanic’s lien.  It not only shows the seriousness of pressing for your unpaid bills, but can also stop the sale or refinance of the property.  On the other hand, such a lien and does not last indefinitely and if a lawsuit is not brought to foreclose the lien—it becomes null and void.  So let’s examine briefly how such a lawsuit operates through the recorder’s office.

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When you file the lawsuit, it is with the clerk of the court. Persons can examine that document by going to the courthouse and doing simple research, but it is not a matter of public record. Public record is the record of the lawsuit in the recorder’s office (which in many cases it is within the same office as the clerk of the court).  Do you record all copies of a lawsuit itself?  No, you only record a summary of the lawsuit. This is calling a Notice of Pending action or the latin: Lis Pendens.

The lis pendens is usually a couple of pages long and is recorded telling the rest of the world that a lawsuit has been brought to foreclose the mechanic’s lien, listing the parties, the common and legal description of the property, and the general nature of the lawsuit. This is looked at by prospective purchasers, lenders, and title companies and puts a halt on any attempt to sell the property. In other words, a third party would not know if you brought the lawsuit unless you have the Notice a Pending Action.

It is recommended practice to file such a lis pendens. In fact, in most states, it is required to be recorded within a certain period of time after bringing that lawsuit.


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