Judgment liens are created when someone wins a lawsuit against another person and then records the judgment against its property. It is a type of nonconsensual lien, which means it can be attached to a property without the owner’s agreement. 

In such cases, the lien can be attached to an individual or business, allowing the creditor access to assets such as the debtor’s business, personal property, and real estate. 

In this article, we provide you a full guide on judgment liens on real property in Florida

Understanding the Concept

In the state of Florida, a property lien can be used to collect a court judgment. In such cases, a plaintiff who obtains a monetary judgment is referred to as a judgment creditor, while the defendant is referred to as a judgment debtor. 

A judgment lien can be attached to real or personal property, or even to future acquisitions if the debtor has none at the time of the judgment. Creditors in Florida must record liens via a county or state filing. 

In layman’s terms, after a judge or jury hands down a verdict in a civil court case, a judgment is entered by the court. Commonly, the court orders the payment of an amount of money from one party to another. 

Nonetheless, the debtor does not always pay what is owed using fiat currency. A judgment lien is utilized as a way to ensure that the creditor gets what he/she is owed legally. Hence, this approach gives the creditor the right to be paid from proceeds from the sale of the debtor’s property.

Attention to Detail is Crucial

Florida law provides plenty of legal ground for judgment liens, which can be found at Florida Statutes Ann. Sections 55.202 to .205, 55.081, 55.10. 

According to the state legislation, a judgment lien can be attached to the debtor’s real estate, which includes houses, condos, lands, or other similar types of property interest. Plus, the state laws also permit judgment liens to be attached to the debtor’s personal property, such as jewelry, art, etc. 

To attach a lien on the debtor’s real property, the creditor needs to record the judgment with the county recorder in any Florida county where the debtor owns real estate.

It includes any real estate which is currently under the debtor’s net worth or that he/she may own in the future (provided the lien does not expire). 

Liens on the personal property require the creditor to file the judgment with the Florida Department of State. Regardless, we strongly recommend you seek guidance from an expert attorney to oversee the process’s details. 

Given that real property refers to the estate such as properties (land) and buildings, the property in which the judgment lien is attached must be registered in the debtor’s name. Hence, if the debt goes unpaid, the judgment lien cannot be attached to a spouse’s property. 

How Much Time Does a Judgment Lien Last in Florida? 

Typically, a judgment lien remains attached to the debtor’s property in Florida for ten years, in cases involving real estate liens. For personal property lien, the length of time is usually five years.

It is important to remember that the judgment lien will remain active even if the property changes hands. In this sense, it is crucial to proceed with a lien search before acquiring any type of real estate in Florida. 

Important Facts to Consider 

The creditor’s ability to collect under a judgment lien in Florida will be affected by several factors: 

  • A fixed value that will not be available if the property is the debtor’s primary residence (homestead exemption).
  • The existence of other liens attached to the same property.
  • Any foreclosure or bankruptcy proceedings involving the debtor’s real property. 

Regardless, the best option is to avoid a judgment lien altogether, seeking a manner to repay the debt or somehow avoid litigation by negotiating with the creditor. A lien can be removed by the creditor when he/she files a release through the same county/state the lien was recorded.

Judgment Lien on Real Property in Florida – We Can Help You 

Dealing with judgment liens on real property is not an easy task. Instead, it requires a strategic approach and expertise to deal with all complexities involved in this type of case. 

Do not waste time facing uncertainty – get help with an expert attorney in Florida to ensure the best outcome for your situation. Get in touch with Attorney B. Jurado today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a consultation.