In Florida, according to Florida Statutes 55.10, anyone who properly files a lien can put a lien on your house. The person or entity filing the lien, whether via a judgment, order or decree, must file an affidavit. While most entities do not put a lien on your home unless you owe a significant amount of money, there are some entities that always put a lien on your home.
If you do not pay your real estate taxes, the taxing authority for your county puts a lien on your home. If a taxing authority places a lien on your home, it will auction the home to the highest bidder on the tax deed. You have a specific amount of time to pay the taxes, depending on the county. If you pay the taxes during that time, the lien is extinguished. If not, the tax deed is transferred to the person who paid the taxes -- the person with the tax deed -- and that person (or entity) now owns your home.
If you accumulated extensive attorney's fees, especially in a divorce case, the attorney may put a lien on your home. The attorney files the appropriate documents, including an affidavit of attorney's fees to obtain a lien on your home.
Creditors, upon filing the appropriate documents, can also put a lien on your home. In this case, a creditor obtains a judgment from the court before placing a lien. If the creditor is your mortgage company, it already has a lien on your home, as the note is secured with a mortgage on the home. If you default on the mortgage, the mortgage company files a lis pendens (notice of lawsuit) then will serve you with a summons and complaint. During the lawsuit, you can pay the arrearages; but if you do not, in most cases, the mortgage company obtains a summary judgment ordering you to pay, or the home goes to auction where it is sold to the highest bidder.
According to Section 55.204 of the Florida Statutes, a lien may lapse as early as five years after the date of filing the judgment lien certificate. But if the lien is placed on your home for child support, the lien stays on the home for 20 years, unless you pay it. If you owe unemployment taxes, that lien stays on your home for 10 years. If you pay the judgment, be sure the entity that filed the lien files a release of lien. If you sell your home with a lien on it, the amount owed is taken out of the profits and paid to the person or entity that you owe.
- The Florida Legislature: Florida Statutes 55.10: Judgments, Orders, and Decrees; Lien of All, Generally; Extension of Liens; Transfer of Liens to Other Security
- The FloridaLegislature; Florida Statute 55.204: Duration and Continuation of Judgment Lien; Destruction of Records
- Internal Revenue Service. "Understanding a Federal Tax Lien." Accessed Sep. 18, 2020.
- Experian. "Tax Liens Are No Longer a Part of Credit Reports." Accessed Sept. 18, 2020.
- Experian. "What Affects Your Credit Scores?" Accessed Sep. 18, 2020.
- Federal Trade Commission. "Fair Credit Reporting Act 15 U.S.C § 1681," Page 22. Accessed Sep. 18, 2020.
Cayden Conor has been writing since 1996. She has been published on several websites and in the winter 1996 issue of "QECE." Conor specializes in home and garden, dogs, legal, automotive and business subjects, with years of hands-on experience in these areas. She has an Associate of Science (paralegal) from Manchester Community College and studied computer science, criminology and education at University of Tampa.