If someone sues you can they take your house

Can a Creditor Take Your Home in Florida?

Quick answer: a judgment creditor cannot take your home. A Florida homestead is completely protected from execution of money judgments.

If someone sues you, they can take several steps to collect your assets to satisfy the judgment. But your homestead is exempt from most judgments.

How Florida Homestead Protection Works

In Florida, your primary residence is completely protected from judgment creditors. The law protects an unlimited amount of equity in the homestead: even multi-million dollar homes can be fully exempt from judgment creditors.

The homestead protection is unlimited. Regardless of the home’s value, as long as it falls within the size limitations, it is generally protected from forced sale by general creditors.

The protection does come with some acreage limits. In a municipality, the homestead protection is limited to half an acre. Outside a municipality, the protection can cover up to 160 acres.

Creditors cannot place a lien on a home and force its sale to pay off debts.

Exceptions

A Florida homestead is not protected against mortgages secured by the property, mechanic’s liens for work done to improve the property, tax liens, or liens related to homeowner association dues or special assessments.

Inheritance

Florida’s homestead law also protects the transfer of the home upon the death of the owner. The homestead does not become part of the probate estate and will pass to heirs or trust beneficiaries free and clear of any judgment liens.

What Counts as a Homestead?

Florida law protects homestead property up to 1/2 acre in a city or 160 acres in an unincorporated county. For properties in the unincorporated county, the protection is not limited to a single parcel. Contiguous parcels of land are protected so long as the homestead is located on one of the parcels.

Your home is protected only if you (1) own or have a beneficial interest in the property, (2) reside in the property, and (3) intend for the home to be your lawful, permanent residence.

Vacation homes, temporary homes, and homes under construction are not protected. A property that you intend to make your homestead later on is not protected.

Gideon Alper

About the Author

I’m an attorney who specializes in asset protection planning. I graduated with honors from Emory University Law School and have been practicing law for almost 15 years.

I have helped thousands of clients protect their assets from creditors. Before private practice, I represented the federal government while working for the IRS Office of Chief Counsel.