In Carr v. Rosien, the California Court of Appeal held: 1. A lis pendens must be mailed to the owner’s address shown on the county’s assessment roll even if the address is incorrect; and 2. The failure to do so void’s the lis pendens not only as to the owner but also as to the owner’s transferees.
The takeaway is clear: when you record a lis pendens serve the owner at the address listed on the assessor’s roll even if that is not the owner’s proper address. Because, according to the Carr Court, “[Code of Civil Procedure § 405.22] makes no exception for cases in which the address on the assessor’s roll is incorrect. This favors the claimant, by giving it a safe harbor: all it has to do is mail the lis pendens to the address shown on the assessor’s roll; it does not have to make sure the address is valid. If a properly addressed lis pendens is returned undeliverable, that is not the claimant’s problem.”
Other courts may disagree that claimants are relieved of any obligation to send notice to the owner’s correct address, if known. Therefore, it would probably be a mistake not to send notice to both the owner’s address listed on the assessor’s roll and the correct address, if known.