The Florida homestead exemption does not protect homeowners against all forced sales of their property. Consider one of my client’s situation where my client resided in a home that he owned jointly with a friend. The friend did not live in the house. The friend decided he wanted to sell the house and reap profits from the house appreciation. My client did not want to sell or move from his home. There was no written agreement between the two owners.
My client wanted to know if his co-owner could force the sale of their jointly owned property. The partner could bring a partition action to divide the property. The Constitutional homestead protection against the forced sale of a homestead does not prohibit partition sales. The Constitutions’ exemption prohibits forced sale of a homestead to execute a civil judgment, and a civil judgment cannot become a lien on the property. Partition actions are equitable actions among property owners. Divorce proceedings are another example of equitable proceedings that could require someone to sell his house.
In this case, I advised my client that his home was not protected from his co-owner’s efforts to force the sale.
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