What are the Benefits of Florida’s Homestead Creditor Protection?
By: Alison Siegelstein, Esq.
One of the most valuable and strongest forms of asset protection available to Florida residents remains Florida’s Homestead protection. Homestead protection is written into Florida’s Constitution under Article X, Section 4. According to the Florida Constitution, “There shall be exempt from forced sale under process of any court, an no judgment, decree or execution shall be a lien thereon, except for the payment of taxes and assessments thereon, obligations contract for the purchase, improvements or repair thereof, or obligations contracted for house, field or other labor performed on the realty, the following property owned by a natural person” (Article X, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution).
What does this exemption language mean? It means that creditors cannot force the sale of your home to pay for the debts you may owe to them. Please note that there are exceptions to this protection, which include: bankruptcy, co-ownership with someone who does not declare the property their homestead, mortgages, tax liens, judgments in the county that existed before you resided in the property, and mechanic’s liens.
How do you qualify for homestead protection? The property must be your primary residence and you must be a Florida resident. A vacation home or a second home does not qualify. The protection attaches as soon as you occupy your home and there is no paperwork needed to declare the protection.
It is important not to confuse the Florida Homestead Protection with the Florida Homestead Exemption for property tax purposes. Please consult our blog article on Homestead Tax Exemption for how to apply for the property tax exemption. This is done through your local property appraiser’s office, which is found in the county where your property is located.
Do you have additional questions regarding homestead protection? Call the ROSS FELTY, A REAL ESTATE LAW FIRM to speak with an attorney for assistance.