Florida 4th DCA Reverses Opinion that Lis Pendens Expires at Final Judgment of Foreclosure

Previously as discussed here, Florida’s 4th DCA held that the lis pendens expired at final judgment of foreclosure. This meant that any liens filed between the final judgment of foreclosure and the foreclosure auction/sale date were not extinguished by the foreclosure sale and remained on the property. This causes controversy as parties (like city liens, contractor liens, etc) could simply wait until after the final judgment of foreclosure and then file their lien making it survive the foreclosure auction; which typically wiped out all junior liens to the one being foreclosed.

In the case after final judgment of foreclosure but before the sale, the town filed numerous liens upon the property. A third party purchaser bought the property at the bank foreclosure. The purchaser filed a lawsuit to remove the town liens, but judgment was granted in favor of the town holding that the liens on the property survived as the lis pendens terminated at the final judgment of foreclosure.

The 4th DCA revised it’s decision finding the the recording of a lis pendens operates as a bar to the enforcement of all interests and liens, even if they were unrecorded liens or interest existed before or after the final judgment of foreclosure. The Court held that the final judgment of foreclosure is not the final resolution in a foreclosure proceeding, but rather the foreclosure auction. Further, the lis pendens statute references the occurrence of the judicial sale.

Doing so ends a potential controversy that a junior interest or lien could wait until after final judgment to record its lien and have it survive the foreclosure auction upon the property taxable to the new owner of the property.

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