Explaining Florida Real Estate Liens
A lien is a claim against a person’s assets that can be used to satisfy a debt. There are several different types of liens that may be levied on a piece of Florida property, but too often, an owner or prospective owner is unaware of a lien until they are forced to deal with it. While homestead property in Florida is exempt from any judgment, forced sale, or lien, any other piece of land may wind up foreclosed upon if its owner does not take the appropriate action. Contacting an experienced real estate lawyer may help you handle potential problems before they get worse.
Intended To Recover A Debt
While many enjoy Florida’s weather and vibrant lifestyle, one of the reasons why so many elderly people flock to the state is that its tax laws are very favorable. This is most clearly shown in what is known as Florida’s homestead provision – under this law, a person may claim their “primary residence” as their homestead, preserving most or all of its inherent value and rendering it beyond the reach of creditors in most situations. However, homestead protections only apply to one piece of property (and there are some types of liens which may still attach to a homestead property), which may leave any other real estate investments of yours vulnerable.
A lien on property signifies that some type of debt has not been paid, and because of this, most liens do not disappear in bankruptcy or even in foreclosure. There may even be multiple liens on a piece of property if the homeowner has run into debt, in which case an order of precedence is established by law. For example, if the home is governed by a homeowners’ association (HOA), the HOA may put a lien on the home in order to recover unpaid assessments, but that lien would likely be subordinate to a federal tax lien claimed by the IRS.
Construction Liens Are Most Common
While there are multiple different types of liens that may be placed on a piece of real estate, the most commonly seen is a construction lien. A construction lien is placed on the property by a contractor or other professional workman as security for the services they perform – for example, a roofer may obtain a construction lien on the property in the same amount as they are charging the homeowner for the roofing work. If the homeowner defaults or otherwise cannot pay, the lien can be enforced.
Construction liens generally expire after one year, but after this period, the lienholder has no recourse except to file suit. It is generally recommended to clear the lien before it gets anywhere near a court if only because these cases are extremely complex in nature. A knowledgeable attorney is a good person to have on your side when trying to navigate liens and their requirements; since every case is different, you need individualized advice for your specific situation.
Contact A Tampa Real Estate Attorney
If you are so unfortunate to find a lien – or multiple liens – on your property, it is crucial that you enlist knowledgeable legal assistance to help deal with them. Attorney Alicia Seward is a Tampa real estate attorney who has handled this type of issue, and the Seward Law Office is ready to try and assist you with any questions or concerns you may have about yours. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.