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Homestead Act Questions

The Homestead Act was first enacted during the Civil War in 1862, allowing applicants to claim free farmland called a “homestead”. Today, it has undergone a number of changes and many states have different laws. But the law still seeks to protect the property of real estate owners who file for homestead protection for various reasons. Listed below are a few questions answered by Experts about the Homestead Act.

I might default in payment with my house in Florida and want to be sure that I can at least protect my Connecticut house. Can you let me know if Connecticut has a Homestead Act?

As a state, Connecticut offers only moderate protection for homestead and has nothing remarkable about it from a debtor-creditor’s point of view. The exemption limit for homestead is $75,000.

In Connecticut, does the Homestead Act give a homeowner a credit or exemption of any kind on his real estate taxes?

No. Again, in Connecticut, the Homestead Act protects the equity in the house and only up to $75,000.00.

In Nevada, does the Homestead Act offer protection against credit card creditors?

According to the Nevada Homestead Act, equity in a homestead should be protected up to $550,000. The Act does not protect the owners of the house from a deed of trust or mortgage (including seconds) recorded before the homestead. You would also need a recorded Declaration of Homestead per Nevada law NRS 115. In addition, you can’t file liens (judgments) against Nevada homesteaded properties as ruled by the Nevada Supreme Court in In re: Contrevo.

My primary home has a mortgage of $800,000 and I have a Homestead Act filed on it. In the event the bank decides to foreclose on my home, I want to know what would happen since the Homestead Act is limited to $500,000.

If a lender has a lien on your house securing the mortgage, the homestead exemption most likely will not protect you from foreclosure. The exemption may only protect your home against other creditors. Therefore, the lender should be entitled to foreclose in the event that you default on the mortgage.

In Arizona, can the Homestead Act prevent someone from taking your home away in a situation where the home is sold and then the owner changes his mind?

If the owner of the property has signed a contract of sale that is valid, the Homestead Act can do nothing about it since the owner is bound by that contract. If the owner decides not to sell, the buyer can then use the contract, which includes the right to have a judge, to force the sale.

In Texas, what does the Homestead law say?

The law basically protects your primary residence from being attached or taken over by creditors to pay off judgment debts. It also allows for someone to safeguard rural property less than 200 acres and any urban property without placing a limit on the property value.

If you would like to read more on the Texas Homestead Act, visit: http://library.findlaw.com/1999/Oct/1/126857.html

Understanding homestead law in your state is important so you understand what your rights are as a homeowner when faced with demands from creditors.

Ask a Real Estate Lawyer

Tina
Tina, Lawyer
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Experience:  17 years of legal experience including real estate law.
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Real Estate Lawyers are online & ready to help you now

Tina
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16 years of legal experience including real estate law.
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20 years extensive experience in real estate law, foreclosure, finance, and landlord tenant law.
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13 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 24+ years

Recent Homestead Questions

  • Are Co-owners of property equally liable for upkeep and maintenance

    Are Co-owners of property equally liable for upkeep and maintenance of a property and are all of them equally liable for injury claims against the property in Florida?
  • If a home is titled in the name of a revocable trust, is it

    If a home is titled in the name of a revocable trust, is it in or out of the estate of the grantor? So, for example, if the grantor became subject to a judgment 25 years after the home was put into the trust, would the trust be vulnerable to the judgment creditor such that the home could be executed on?
  • Condo (condo-hotel) association started fighting with owners,

    Condo (condo-hotel) association started fighting with owners, who either rent themselves, or uses the unit or lets family members use it. It is getting nasty.
    The Declaration of Condominium states ""No unit owner may lease or 'rent such unit owner's Unit for less than a three (3) month consecutive period without utilizing the hotel/front desk services of the tenant of Commercial Unit No. 1."
    You would think that owners can rent for 3 months and one day and longer, but no.
    In the letter from the Association attorney, he states:
    “Each Unit, other than Commercial Unit No. 1 and other than Commercial Unit No. 2, shall be used only for transient, hotel purposes and may not be utilized as the unit owner's homestead. The provisions contained within this Paragraph J may not be amended.”
    he now quotes Florida Statute 509.013 4(a)1
    "Transient public lodging establishment” means any unit, group of units, dwelling, building, or group of buildings within a single complex of buildings which is rented to guests more than three times in a calendar year for periods of less than 30 days or 1 calendar month, whichever is less, or which is advertised or held out to the public as a place regularly rented to guests."
    Plus at the last meeting they claimed they got the votes of the members and that the term of 30 days is now established (and they do not discriminate between the owners and the guests), so now the owner can't stay or let anyone stay there (not even rent) for more than 30 days. Out of 128 owners there were 11 present at the meeting, and the votes came 11 to make it 2 months, and 23 to have it one month.
    Seems that the Board is harassing people, especially, they do not pay for their attorney, and force members to pay for the letters.
    If this can be used for hotel purposes only, should they change the declaration and allow owners to rent short term?
    A condo/hotel is still a condo, and has a residential component, so how can they block owners from using it or allowing it to be used by family members?
    Can this allowing only the Front desk, which is a 3rd party, and not allowing owners to rent their own unit be legal? What can be done?
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