Header graphic for print
Florida Banking Law Blog Legal developments impacting banking, finance and loan enforcement in Florida

Judgment Liens: Collecting on Florida Money Judgments (Overview of Judgment Liens)

Posted in Debt and Judgment Collection

A lien is a type of security interest that attaches to property, both real and personal, to secure payment of a debt or performance of an obligation.  Generally, there are two types of liens: consensual liens and nonconsensual liens.  A consensual lien is typically acquired through an agreement or contract, such as a mortgage lien on real property or a UCC-1 security interest on personal property securing payment of a promissory note.  A nonconsensual lien typically arises by statute, such as a tax lien for the failure to pay income taxes, or by operation of law, such as a judgment lien.

To acquire a valid judgment lien, there must be the following:

  • An entry of a monetary judgment by a court (rather than a non-monetary judgment such as a foreclosure judgment);
  • The judgment must include the address of the judgment creditor,[1] the party in favor of whom the judgment is entered [Fla. Stat. §55.10(1)];
  • The judgment must include the address of the judgment debtor, the party against whom the judgment is entered [Fla. Stat. §55.01(2)]; and
  • The judgment should contain the language “for which sum let execution issue.”

After the court enters the judgment, the judgment creditor may take action to acquire liens on all of the judgment debtor’s non-exempt real and personal property by recording the judgment and filing a Judgment Lien Certificate with the Secretary of State.  In separate posts, we describe the processes for obtaining judgment liens on real property and judgment liens on personal property.  Once a party holds a properly recorded judgment lien, the judgment creditor may foreclose on property to which the judgment lien has attached, through judicial foreclosure of real or personal property.

[1] The address of the judgment creditor’s attorney is not sufficient.  If the address is not included in the judgment, this requirement can be met by recording an affidavit that states the address at the same time the certified copy of the judgment is recorded, as described in the post explaining how to obtain judgment liens on real property.