FLORIDA BULLETIN 00-3
TO: ALL AGENTS, LICENSEES AND OPERATORS
DATE: May 26, 2005
RE: LIENS OF JUDGMENTS
The law relating to liens of judgments has recently changed. On June 13, 2000, the Governor signed into law Chapter 2000-258, Laws of Florida. This act made significant changes to the laws relating to the liens of judgments, and gives us a tool and information to use when dealing with judgments and claims of homestead.
Florida Statute §55.10 has been amended to provide that the initial lien period shall be seven (7) years from the date of recording a certified copy of the judgment. The lien period may be extended for an additional period of ten (10) years by re-recording a certified copy of the judgment which shows the current address of the person who holds the judgment, or by simultaneously recording an affidavit showing the current address of the person who holds the judgment, prior to the expiration of the 7-year period. This additional 10-year period shall be effective from the date of the re-recording of the judgment.
In other words, judgments in this state can now be liens upon real property in Florida when a certified copy of the judgment is recorded as follows:
Prior to July 1, 1987: The lien period shall be 20 years from the date of entry of the judgment.
On or after July 1, 1987, and prior to July 1, 2000: The initial recording creates a lien for a period of seven (7) years which may be renewed for an additional 7 years, and may again be renewed or extended for an additional period which extends the lien of the judgment for a period of time not to exceed 20 years from the date of the entry of the judgment.
On or after July 1, 2000: The initial lien period shall be 7 years with an additional 10-year extension.
Keep in mind that in order to become a valid lien on real property, the recording must be of a certified copy of the judgment. Further, any recording or re-recording of a certified copy of a judgment entered on or after October 1, 1993, must include the current address of the judgment holder or an affidavit, simultaneously recorded with the judgment, which contains the current address of the judgment holder. Valid judgment liens now must be certified and filed in Tallahassee.
Additionally, the provisions of Florida Statute 55.081 state that "No judgment shall be a lien upon real or personal property after the expiration of 20 years from the date of the entry of such judgment."
Designation of Homestead
Under this new law, a natural person whose homestead is affected by the lien of a judgment may file a Notice of Homestead in the public records of the county wherein the homestead is located, and the Clerk shall properly mail such Notice of Homestead to the judgment holder(s) at the address set forth in the judgment or in the most recently recorded affidavit setting forth the judgment holder's address. This requirement is not our responsibility, which is great, as it will further delay the attempted foreclosure in the 45 day window. If the judgment holder fails to institute an action for a declaratory judgment or to foreclose their judgment lien within 45-days of the mailing of such notice, the lien of the judgment will be considered as not attaching to the property by virtue of its status as homestead property. The recorded Notice of Homestead and the Clerk's certification of the mailing must appear of record. This "exemption" from the lien of the judgment shall extend for a period of 180 days after the filing of the Notice of Homestead in the public records. A buyer or lender may rely upon this Notice of Homestead during that 180-day period, provided there is nothing that gives notice of the loss of homestead status (abandonment). Further, this exemption shall extend only to those judgments for which notice was properly given. This exemption shall not apply to:
Liens and judgments for the payment of taxes and assessments on real property;
Liens and judgments for obligations contracted for the purchase of real property;
Liens and judgments for labor, services or materials furnished to repair or improve real property;
Liens and judgments for other obligations contracted for house, field or other labor performed on real property.