A plaintiff who obtains a court judgment against a defendant will want to place a judgment lien on a defendant’s residence, in the amount of the judgment.
Connecticut has a homestead exemption law, found at Conn. General Statutes 52-352b (t)
The exemption applies to
(t) The homestead of the
The exemptioner must be a natural person. The homestead must be “owner occupied real property used as a primary residence.” (Presumably, if the residence is owned by a trust, the trust cannot exempt the real property).
Conn. General Statutes 52-352f provides
A money judgment may be enforced against any property of the judgment debtor unless the property is exempt from application to the satisfaction of the judgment under section 52-352a, 52-352b, 52-352d or 52-361a or any other provision of the general statutes or federal law. The money judgment may be enforced, by execution or by foreclosure of a real property lien, to the amount of the money judgment with (1) all statutory costs and fees as provided by the general statutes, (2) interest as provided by chapter 673 on the money judgment and on the costs incurred in obtaining the judgment, and (3) any attorney’s fees allowed pursuant to section 52-400c.
Therefore, the $75,000 exemption effectively protects $75,000 in equity of a residence, from foreclosure, by a judgment lienor.
“Once a foreclosure sale is confirmed and reduced to proceeds, the homeowner’s exemption rights attach to the proceeds of the sale. ” Spears v. Elder, 156 Conn. App. 778 at 787 (2015). Therefore, if a judgment lien holder would seek
Example – Foreclosure sale by lien holder
Proceeds – $180,000
1st Mortgage – $120,000
Balance due – $60,000 – paid to judgment debtor – as exempt proceeds of sale
Judgment Lienholder gets nothing
Interestingly, it appears that there is no exemption in a situation in which a judgment debtor sells his or her property at a private sale. Assuming the same situation above, the lienholder would seem to be entitled to payment of the $60,000, rather than the judgment debtor.
Similarly, it is not clear if a judgment lienholder would get paid, before a judgment debtor, in the case of a foreclosure by a mortgagee.
Example, Foreclosure by mortgagee/Bank
1st Mortgage $120,000
Balance due $60,000 – since the statute prevents the lienholder from enforcing the lien, and the lienholder is not “enforcing the lien,” it appears that the lienholder should be able to collect the $60,000 balance.
If you have any questions, concerning judgment lien enforcement in Connecticut, please feel free to contact
Attorney Robert M. Singer
2572 Whitney Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518